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Full text of "God's calling : a missionary autobiography"

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a forty-year journey 
inspired by Gods faithfulness 



Robert H. Culpepper 



God's Calling: 
A Missionary Autobiography 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/godscallingmissiOOculp 



God's Calling: 

A Missionary 

Autobiography 



Robert H. Culpepper 



BROADMAN PRESS 

Nashville, Tennessee 



© Copyright 1981 • Broadman Press 
All rights reserved. 

4263-23 
ISBN: 0-8054-6323-2 



Throughout this book, the name of the Foreign Mission Board is often abbreviated (FMB), as is the name of 
the Japan Baptist Convention (JBC). 

Verses marked Good News are from the Good News Bible, the Bible in Today's English Version. Old 
Testament: Copyright I American Bible Society 1976; New Testament: Copyright © American Bible Society, 
1966, 1971, 1976. Used by permission. 

Verses marked RSV are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyrighted 1946, 1952, © 1971, 
1973. 

Verses marked ASV are from the American Standard Version. 



Dewey Decimal Classification: 266.092 
Subject headings: culpeppeb. robert h / /missions— japan 

Library of Congress Catalog Number: 80-68643 
Printed in the United States of America 



Di\>, Sck 

Dedicated 

Si 

to Kay and Cathy 

who shared many of the experiences this book relates, 
to the hosts of Southern Baptists 

whose support through prayer and financing made our ministry in 
Japan possible, and 
to the fellow missionaries in Japan and the many Japanese Christian 
friends 
who constituted our larger family in Japan. 



Appreciation 



Deep gratitude is expressed to the following: 

to Dr. E. Luther Copeland and Mr. Calvin Parker, missionary col- 
leagues, who read the first draft of the book chapter by chapter and 
gave many invaluable suggestions; 

to Dr. John W. Carlton, my colleague at Southeastern Baptist The- 
ological Seminary, who helped with the tedious task of correcting 
the proofs; and 

to Mrs. Yoshiko Fujie, Miss Marguerite Styers, and Mrs. Evelyn B. 
Carter, who cheerfully typed parts of the manuscript. 



Contents 



1. How It All Began 9 

2. Alapaha 15 

3. Impressionable Years 21 

4. College Days 28 

5. The Seminary 39 

6. Kay 48 

7. Appointment 58 

8. Japan at Last 66 

9. Early Adjustments 77 

10. A People Ripe for the Gospel 86 

11. Seminary Teaching 93 

12. Early Evangelistic Opportunities 103 

13. The Beginning of the Hirao Church 

and Our First Furlough 112 

14. Trying to Communicate 128 

15. Problems Equal Opportunities 139 

16. Building Bridges 150 

17. Seminary— At Home and Abroad 161 

18. Cathy Calling 172 

19. A Time of Decision 181 

20. Seminary Crisis 188 

21 . Spiritual Renewal 203 

22. The Holy Spirit's Continuing Work 213 

23. A Fond Farewell 224 



1 

How It All Began 



"Mother and Daddy, there's something I've been wanting to tell you for about 
two weeks," I said. "I feel that God is calling me as a missionary to Japan." 

"A missionary to Japan? Bob, how could you think of such a thing? You know 
your mother's health isn't good. And it hasn't been good since you were born, 
and your brother James before you," Daddy answered. "If you go away over there 
to Japan, your mother will probably die from anxiety. Bob, don't you love your 
mother?" 

"Of course, I love my mother," I responded, "but I want to do God's will." 

"How do you know this is God's will?" Daddy asked. "There are plenty of 
people in America who aren't Christians. I believe God wants you to stay here and 
serve him right around here." He said that with finality, as if to say, "That settles 
that." 

"But Daddy, don't you remember that when I was sick you promised the Lord 
that if he would spare me, should he ever want me for his service, you would do 
everything you could to help me and nothing to hinder me?" I asked. 

"But I didn't mean this," Daddy countered. 

"You know God gave his Son for us all," I reminded him. 

"Yes, but he knew that he was going to get him back," Daddy answered. 

My letters home had indicated my deep interest in Kay Sanderson. Sensing that 
my love for her was different from what I had felt for any other girl, Mother asked, 
"And what does Kay think of this?" 

"She wants me to do God's will," I replied. 

"Is she planning to be a missionary?" 

"Yes, she is." 

"Now, I understand," Mother responded. "You just want to be a missionary 
because of her." 

I didn't think that was the case, but this was a hard one to answer. How much 
had my love for Kay influenced my decision? 

"Do you remember when you were a junior in high school?" Dad questioned. 

"Yes, of course. Why do you ask?" I inquired. 

9 



10 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

"Well, if you left right now, it would be that many years in the future before we 
would see you again," Daddy explained. Then he added, "For years your mother 
and I have worked and sacrificed to try to help you get the best education pos- 
sible. Now you want to take it and throw it all away!" 

This conversation, highly condensed though it is, took place in the family room 
of our home in Tifton, Georgia, Christmas night, 1945. Thirteen days earlier at a 
Missionary Day service in the chapel of The Southern Baptist Theological Semi- 
nary, Louisville, Kentucky, responding to what I believed to be God's call, I had 
surrendered my life to the Lord for missionary service, Overflowing with joy, I had 
wanted to write my parents about the decision right away but had decided to wait 
until the Christmas holidays and tell them personally. 

I had strong reasons for believing that Mother and Daddy would understand. 
They were both Christians. I had first learned of Christ from them. Dad had long 
been a teacher of the men's Bible class. He had taught many lessons on mis- 
sions. For many years Mother had been a member of the Woman's Missionary 
Society of the First Baptist Church. She had often studied about missions. 

But they didn't understand. From about 7:30 in the evening until after midnight, 
alternating crying and scolding, they tried to turn me aside from what I felt God 
was calling me to do. The next day, and the next day after that, and until I returned 
to the seminary, they kept pounding me: "You're not going to be a missionary, 
are you? You're not going to Japan, are you?" Mother and Daddy both believed in 
missions, but not for their son! 

Here was a clash of wills. Was it simply my will against theirs, or was there a 
higher will involved? When accused of being stubborn and strong-willed, I have 
always been able to answer, "I come by it naturally." 

Certainly my dad was a strong-willed person. This is illustrated by an incident 
that occurred January 10, 1966, about three years before his death at seventy. A 
huge man in his mid-forties had entered the president's office of the Bank of 
Alapaha, purportedly to talk with Daddy about some land. After a brief conversa- 
tion the man left, and Daddy returned to his work at the typewriter, where he was 
preparing some papers for the stockholders' meeting the next day. A few 
seconds later he felt a tap on the shoulder and turned around to find himself look- 
ing down the barrel of a pistol. 
"Get up from there," the man ordered sternly. "I'll kill you!" 
Recalling in a flash two previous occasions when attempts to rob the bank had 
been foiled, Daddy determined that this one also must be thwarted. He got up 
from his chair and moved toward the gunman as if to comply with his demand. 



HOW IT ALL BEGAN 1 1 

Then shouting, "You're not going to shoot anybody," Daddy lunged for him and 
tried to take his gun away. The gunman threw him to the floor in a second and then 
slammed the door as he dashed out of the bank. 

Hearing the commotion, Charlie Matthews, vice-president and Dad's assistant 
in the bank for over thirty years, grabbed a revolver from behind the counter and 
chased the gunman out to his car, where a gun battle ensued. Several shots were 
exchanged. One of them grazed Charlie's head and dropped him to the ground. 
The gunman raced his motor and sped away. A few minutes later Charlie was 
rushed to the hospital in Tifton. Fortunately, the wound was only superficial. 

Mugshots supplied by the state patrol enabled Daddy to identify the gunman as 
Jesse James Roberts, a south Georgia man wanted by the FBI for bank and post- 
office robberies in several states. Like the infamous bank robber for whom he was 
named, he had turned to a life of crime. Less than an hour before this, he had 
stolen over $38,000 from the nearby Bank of Lenox and made a successful get- 
away. But he had pushed his luck too far. His abandoned car was found a few days 
later in a swamp near Alapaha. The rear window and three side windows were 
shot out. Some time later Roberts was apprehended in Mexico and brought back 
for trial. 

My brother and I told Daddy what a foolish thing he had done. "Life is of more 
value than money, and besides, the money was insured," we said. A 67-year-old 
man weighing no more than 180 pounds was hardly a match for a 6 foot-4 inch, 
240-pound giant, twenty-three years his junior. 

"But people have deposited their money in this bank and trusted me to take 
care of it," Daddy explained. "As long as I can prevent it, I'm not going to let any- 
one get away with a cent!" 

For almost forty years prior to this incident Daddy had given himself to the 
people of his little farm community. An outgoing man who never saw a stranger, 
he was respected by all for his integrity and sought after by many for his Christian 
counsel. 

Except for a brief business course which he took before beginning work at 
eighteen, my father, James Pickren Culpepper, never attended anything but a 
one-room school. Perhaps this lack of formal education accounted for the fact that 
he wanted his two sons to have the best education possible. 

And yet, Daddy was not an uneducated man. One of my most vivid childhood 
memories is of him reading the Saturday Evening Post'm front of the fireplace with 
his feet propped up on the mantle. That posture of his never ceased to amaze me. 
The Reader's Digest was also a part of his regular literary diet. Besides these, he 
read his Bible and Wilbur M. Smith's commentary on the International Sunday 



12 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

School lessons in Peloubet's Select Notes. He began his Sunday School prepara- 
tion regularly on Monday evenings and studied an hour or two each evening until 
Sunday. When class time came he had something to say. 

Most of his life Daddy worked as a country banker. By the time he reached his 
mid-forties, he had served a term as President of the Georgia Bankers' Associa- 
tion and a term as chairman of the Agricultural Committee of the American 
Bankers' Association, remarkable honors for a man of his limited opportunities. 

Dad was reared on a farm about eight miles northeast of Cusseta, Georgia, a 
little country town not far from Columbus. Limited as his educational opportuni- 
ties had been, they were excellent in comparison with those his father had 
enjoyed. Daddy's father, James Alexander Culpepper, had no more than three 
months of formal education in his whole life. And yet, by the standards of those 
days, he was a successful farmer and carpenter. He also served for thirty-eight 
years as justice of the peace in his district. And for all the time he was justice of 
the peace only once was a decision of his reversed in a higher court. 

Dad's mother died shortly before his twelfth birthday, leaving him to shoulder 
responsibilities that a child ordinarily does not assume. Grandmother was in the 
midst of a foot-washing service at the Primitive Baptist Church to which she and 
Granddaddy belonged when she suffered a stroke. My father reached her about 
five minutes later. She couldn't speak, but she smiled faintly, reached out, and 
embraced him with the arm that wasn't paralyzed. She died at home about seven 
hours later. 

Shortly after this, Daddy's younger brother, Roland, left home to live with their 
older sister, Vera, and her husband in Albany. Not much of a carpenter, Daddy 
helped with the farm work after school and during the six months he wasn't in 
school. School in or school out, cooking for himself and his father became the 
young boy's responsibility. 

Upon completing an eleven-month business course in Macon, Georgia, my 
father began his first job with the National City Bank in Tifton, Georgia, in July of 
1917, shortly before his nineteenth birthday, August 13. He spent most of the next 
nine years in Tifton in various banking and bookkeeping jobs. 

Daddy was twenty-one when he made a formal profession of faith in Christ and 
was baptized into the fellowship of the First Baptist Church in Tifton. Being of a 
Primitive Baptist background, Dad had been taught that one should not be bap- 
tized and become a church member until that age. One evening in September 
1920 at the BYPU (Baptist Young People's Union) of his church my father met a 
petite brunette, Leona Veola Wansley, who was to become his wife and my 
mother. 

Mother had just been graduated a few months earlier from Georgia State 
Woman's College in Millegeville, and had come to Tifton as a second-grade 



HOW IT ALL BEGAN 13 

schoolteacher in the school where Ottie, her older sister, already taught. With 
Daddy it seems to have been love at first sight. However, Mother was not inter- 
ested in romance. Concerned about making good as a schoolteacher, she was 
annoyed by Daddy's persistent attempts to walk her to school each morning. Miss 
Annie Belle Clark, the principal, was a strict disciplinarian and took no foolishness 
from either the pupils or her teachers. Mother was eager to avoid her disfavor. 

But Dad's persistence paid off, and on September 8, 1921, my mother and 
daddy were married in a simple home ceremony in Camesville, Georgia. 

Mother was the second child in a family of five boys and three girls, not an 
unusually large family for those days. A small-time farmer, Mother's father served 
twelve years as sheriff of Franklin County, much to the humiliation of his wife, who 
didn't want her children growing up in the jail. (The living quarters provided by the 
county for the sheriff were in the same building as the jail.) 

One day when she was about a year old Mother fell from her rocking chair in 
front of the fireplace onto the hot hearth and burned her forehead. Later she 
always tried to cover this scar with bangs, a hat, or powder. The scar on her face, 
however, was not nearly as deep as the psychological scar in her mind, which 
caused her to think of herself as an ugly duckling. 

Like my dad, Mother as a child had little time to play. Just when she would begin 
to play with her friends, her mother would call out, "Leona, look after Herbert and 
Mack." That would spell the end of playtime for her. 

About eleven months after Mother and Daddy were married, my brother, James 
Pickren Culpepper, Jr., was born. Mother was in hard labor for almost half a day, 
and the strain of this experience left her with shattered nerves and a bad case of 
neuritis in her right arm. She was in poor health the rest of her life. 

Eager to own their own home, Mother and Daddy adopted an extremely frugal 
life-style from which they never departed, even when their financial circum- 
stances improved. By working hard, saving their money, and addressing enve- 
lopes to supplement the family income they were able to purchase a relatively 
new house at 618 North Central Avenue. It was in this house that I was born 
December 8, 1924. 

Daddy's big opportunity came in the fall of 1926 when he was invited to become 
the cashier of the Bank of Alapaha, which was just being reorganized after having 
gone bankrupt. Even though the bank was just a small one in a country town, this 
offer appealed to Daddy because in this situation he would be his own boss. 
Mother was very reluctant to leave her new home in Tifton and the comforts that it 
offered for the crude style of life in Alapaha. As a special inducement, Daddy 
offered her fifty dollars a month. Reluctantly, Mother agreed, and the family 
moved to Alapaha January 1 , 1927. 

At the end of the first month Daddy gave Mother fifty dollars. She began to 



14 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

dream then of all the things she was going to do with all that money. The next 
month came, but she received no fifty dollars. She waited a few days and then 
impatiently asked, "Where is my fifty dollars?" 
"I gave you fifty dollars," Daddy answered. 
"But that was last month. Where is my fifty dollars this month?" 
"But I only promised you fifty dollars a month, not fifty dollars per month," 
Daddy explained. I heard Mother tell that story literally dozens of times. I can 
hardly imagine how deep Mother's hurt was when Daddy stubbornly insisted that 
he had kept his side of the bargain. 



2 
Alapaha 



"Alapaha? Where in the world is Alapaha?" When asked this question, I usually 
reply, "It's halfway between Willacoochee and Enigma and not far from Glory." If 
that leaves the questioner bewildered, and it usually does, I explain that it is in 
south-central Georgia, about nineteen miles east of Tifton on US 82. 

My earliest memories are of life in this sleepy town where we lived from the time 
I was two until I entered the fourth grade. Pronounced A-lap-uh-haw, Alapaha had 
a population of about 250 when we lived there, and it hasn't grown much since. It 
is an old Indian name, and so is Willacoochee. The Alapaha River, less than a 
couple of miles away, flows into the Suwannee River, and the Suwannee empties 
from north Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad goes through Alapaha, and during the time we 
lived there passenger trains stopped several times a day. The town was divided by 
the railroad tracks, with the "better" part being on one side. Main street of the 
town ran parallel with the tracks, and the stores faced the street and the tracks. 
On this street were a service station, a barber shop, a drugstore, a grocery store, 
the bank, a butcher shop, and a general merchandise store. At this general mer- 
chandise store one could buy anything from chewing tobacco and eggs to shoe 
polish and caskets. The residential area for whites was mostly on this side of the 
tracks behind the stores on the main street. 

Across the tracks were the railroad station, a garage, and another service sta- 
tion. Behind the garage was a blacksmith shop, and in back of that the residential 
section for the blacks in the community. 

We lived in a wooden clapboard house on the highway running between Tifton 
and Waycross. This five-room house and about three acres of land were rented 
from the Gaskins, who were our nearest neighbors and our closest friends. On the 
left side of the property facing the street, the lot sloped gently down to the 
property line. 

I can understand why Mother was not eager to live in Alapaha. For her it meant 
returning to a life-style which she thought she had abandoned when she moved to 

15 



16 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Tifton. It was before the Rural Electrification Administration, so the town of 
Alapaha depended upon a Delco plant for lights from sundown until about 10:30 
PM. Aside from this, there was no electricity. Much of the time the plant was out of 
order. During these periods we used kerosene lamps until we got an Aladdin 
lamp, which was much brighter. 

A path led to the outdoor privy a good distance from the house. We bathed in 
bath pans, using hot water heated either on the wood stove or the kerosene stove 
in the kitchen. We drew water from the well on the back porch. Like most people 
in that day, we kept a bucket for drinking water by the well and drank out of a dip- 
per kept in the bucket. 

I can remember now the excitement which I felt when the Gaskins got their own 
electrical system and installed a bathroom in their house. Imagine having a toilet 
right inside your house! I think that at the time it was the only one in Alapaha. 

We used an ice box for refrigeration. Every day during the summer, but less 
often during the rest of the year, the ice man delivered a large block of ice to our 
house. It was great fun to follow his truck and eat some of the ice that fell as he 
chipped off blocks of ice. 

A trip into town was a regular Saturday afternoon event for us. During this one 
time in the week Alapaha really came alive. Farmers for miles around came in by 
wagon, though some drove in by truck or car. They hitched their mules to the 
hitching posts on the main street. During the summer months they let them rest in 
the shade of sycamore trees on some of the side streets. 

Usually on a Saturday afternoon in the winter months old-timers could be seen 
at the service station, the drugstore, or the general merchandise store, sitting on 
nail kegs around a pot-bellied stove, chewing tobacco and playing checkers. They 
played on homemade boards, using bottle caps for checkers. During the summer 
months they moved outside under a tree or sat in front of some of the stores that 
had shelters. 

Renting a mule for the plowing, Daddy raised various crops on the land near the 
house. Sometimes James and I helped hoe the vegetables— corn, string beans, 
butter beans, peas, tomatoes, okra, turnips, collards, sweet potatoes, Irish pota- 
toes, watermelons, and cantaloupes. Occasionally, a black snake would slither 
out of the weeds. I remember one summer day when I was hot and sweaty. My 
arms were itching because they were grimy from the dirt, sweat, and weed stains. 
About that time an ant bit me, and I thought to myself, "I sure don't want to be a 
farmer." 

From time to time we would drive to Tifton for an afternoon. I always looked for- 
ward to buying some cheap toy in the dime store and going to the movies with my 
brother while Mother and Daddy finished their shopping. There was no reason for 



ALAPAHA 17 

them to be concerned about the fime because James and I didn't mind in the least 
seeing the same movie several times. The movies were usually old-time Westerns 
with stars such as Tom Mix, Ken Maynard, Buck Jones, Hoppalong Cassidy, Hoot 
Gibson, Bob Steele, and Tim McCoy. 

Returning home, we would play cowboy for weeks with variations on the theme 
of the movie we had just seen. Straddling a reed stick, we raced back and forth 
around the yard as if our make-believe horses were the finest steeds. Toy pistols 
and holsters, usually received at Christmas, helped lend realism to our play. 
Besides playing cowboy, we enjoyed baseball, hide and seek, marbles, and rub- 
ber gun wars. Playing in the Gaskins' loft was also a favorite pastime. 

It was always a thrill when Daddy promised to take us fishing in the Alapaha 
River. Getting a fishing pole and line, I would stand on the back porch and practice 
catching sticks and tin cans in the yard. I must have become pretty proficient, for 
when I went to the river, usually that was what I would catch— sticks and tin cans. 

The Christmas when I was five I received a large tricycle and my brother a small 
bicycle. Watching him run into the house and fall into the woodpile, I said, "Why 
don't you send that thing back and get yourself something you can ride?" When 
James did learn to ride, however, he would take off and leave me, much to my 
frustration. Since Mother and Daddy did not let James ride his bicycle to school, I 
would practice riding it while he was gone and no one was looking. Soon I was 
riding the bicycle and had lost interest in the tricycle. 

As long as we were in school, we always had a bicycle, but there was never 
more than one bicycle for the two of us to use. Mother and Daddy insisted that we 
should learn to share. When we went somewhere together, I was always the one 
who had to walk the pedals while James sat comfortably on the seat and helped 
me pedal. 

Starting to school before I was six in December meant that all through my 
school years I was always the youngest one and often the smallest one in my 
class. Alapaha had a seven-month school system at that time, with classes begin- 
ning the last of September and school closing the first of May. This gave farmers' 
children the opportunity to help with the crops during the long growing season. 

When I entered the first grade, Alapaha had just consolidated its school with the 
county system. The one school building which was supposed to take care of all 
grades from the first through the eleventh was overflowing. As a result, I started to 
school in the Methodist church building, and we used it until the school could 
enlarge its facilities. 

Mother would send me to school dressed in a little white suit. I would return at 
lunch time dirty as I could be because of play at recess and having sat on my feet 
in the schoolroom. She would scold me for getting so dirty and then have me put 



18 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

on a fresh suit and return to school. I don't think I have ever felt so well-dressed or 
been so proud of my clothes as when Mother finally let me go barefooted and 
wear overalls like everybody else. 

Going barefooted about five months of the year was a special joy for kids at that 
time, but I cut my feet rather often, and I always dreaded having to wash them at 
night before going to bed. I have vivid memories of tiptoeing around over the 
rocks until my feet got toughened and of the pleasurable sensation provided by 
feeling the pollen of oak trees between my toes in the spring. 

Alapaha had two church buildings for whites, a Methodist church and a Baptist 
church. Since there weren't enough Baptists to support a church, the Baptist 
church was closed most of the time, and the few Baptists in town went to the 
Methodist church. 

The Methodist church we attended was a white frame building with a vestibule, 
but with no Sunday School rooms. It had a belfry over the vestibule and a big bell 
which we rang before Sunday School and church by pulling the rope. Our family 
always arrived early for Sunday School, so often I was allowed to help ring the 
bell. As the bell went up, it would take one or two small kids hanging on the rope 
to the ceiling and then it would bring them down as the bell came down again. The 
adults always had to make us stop because we were quite willing to ring it on and 
on. 

Since we had no Sunday School rooms, the auditorium was used for all the 
classes. It was bedlam as each teacher tried to drown out the others. My most 
vivid memories are of sitting in my class in the back of the auditorium and hearing 
Daddy teaching the adult class in the front of the auditorium. Daddy always spoke 
loudly and enthusiastically, all of the time nervously jangling keys and coins in his 
pocket as he spoke. 

My memory of the church is that it was always too hot in summer and too cold in 
winter, that the benches were too hard, and that the sermons were too long. But 
vivid in my memory also is the enthusiastic way I sang the hymns, learning most of 
them by heart. The quiet, worshipful atmosphere of the service made a deep 
impression on me, even though I understood little from the sermon. We didn't 
have sermons every Sunday, only twice a month. The preacher lived in another 
town and came to Alapaha only when it was his time to preach. It was always nice 
to have the preacher come home for Sunday dinner, because that meant we would 
have an especially good meal. At that time in south Georgia, at least in the rural 
areas, we called the noon meal "dinner" and the evening meal "supper." 

For a short time Alapaha had no services for whites on Sundays, not even Sun- 
day School. During this time Mother taught the Sunday School lesson to my 
brother and me on the front porch of our home. Sometimes she invited the Gas- 



ALAPAHA 19 

kins children to join us. Edwin was a little older than James and Murray a little 
younger than I. In the evenings and sometimes in the afternoons Mother would 
read Bible stories to James and me from Hulburt's Story of the Bible. My favorite 
stories were those of David and Samson. I admired David for his courage and Sam- 
son for his physical strength. 

Across the street from us an elderly single lady, Miss Lucy McMillan, lived 
alone. She wore a long dress and a big, broad sunbonnet when she went out to 
water her sunflowers. She was a great storyteller, and she had even seen real, 
live Indians in Florida. Sitting on her front porch and listening to her tell of them 
was the next best thing to talking with Buffalo Bill. 

One day I saw a big spoon in Miss Lucy's kitchen and thought how nice it would 
be to use this to play in my sand box. When I asked her for it she said, "No. I need 
that myself." The next day when she was not looking I stole it. I recall quite vividly 
the guilt feelings that I had as some time later I looked at that rusty spoon in my 
sand box. Miss Lucy did not say anything to me about it, nor did I mention it to any- 
one. I never stole anything again. Later, when I came to understand the gospel 
message, memory of this episode was one of the things that convicted me that I 
was a sinner and I needed the Savior. 

I learned to swim in the black water of the Alapaha River when I was five and a 
half. The water itself was not black, but the river had a mud bottom which made it 
appear black. Seeing the "old wash hole" later as an adult, I realized that it was 
not nearly as wide as it had seemed to me as a child. Of course, the size of the 
wash hole, as well as the depth, depended a lot on whether the river was up or 
down. 

Each spring one of the wealthiest men in the community had a sheep shearing. 
Our family was always among the large crowd of people invited for the picnic held 
in connection with the occasion. Long tables were set up under the magnolia 
trees and were laden with barbecue, Brunswick stew, fried chicKen, roast beef, 
ham, string beans, butter beans, peas, corn, and tomatoes, along with all kinds of 
pies and cakes, and gallons of iced tea and lemonade. Dinner was invariably quite 
late, and my mouth would water as I saw all of those goodies. While waiting for the 
action to begin at the picnic tables, I would go to the pasture and watch the farm- 
ers shear the sheep with hand shears. 

Other great occasions were Halloween carnivals, cane grindings, fish fries at 
the river, and candy-pulling parties. I also enjoyed watching the blacksmith shoe 
horses, bouncing around on raw cotton at the cotton gin before it was ginned and 
baled, rooting for the local baseball team at the school diamond, and watching 
workmen load lima beans and watermelons on freight cars at the railway station. 

When the depression hit in 1929, 1 was too young to understand what it meant. 



20 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

The fact that Daddy had a job throughout the depression years also prevented the 
seriousness of the crisis from striking home as severely as it otherwise might 
have. Moreover, the severity of the depression was not felt as deeply in farm com- 
munities as in the cities, because a family could at least live on the food it pro- 
duced. During the first month of his administration in 1933, President Roosevelt 
declared a "bank holiday." Only the banks that were regarded as fiscally sound 
reopened. The Bank of Alapaha opened as usual after the "bank holiday," for it 
had been reorganized only a few years earlier and had been operating under 
sound policies since then. One of the many reforms that the new administration 
introduced was the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), with a system 
of examinations for state and national banks. This has assured the basic sound- 
ness of most American banks since then. 

Year after year Mother pleaded with Daddy to move back to Tifton. Her concern 
was not so much for a better life-style as for providing better school and church 
opportunities for James and me. At last, my father agreed, and on September 3, 
1933, we moved back into the house in Tifton that Mother and Daddy still owned. 
Daddy commuted to work until he died at the age of seventy. I look back with nos- 
talgia upon those years in Alapaha, because this period gave me a sense of close- 
ness with nature and a joy in simple things. 



3 
Impressionable Years 



Nestled in the heart of Georgia's coastal plain, Tifton had a population of four or 
five thousand when we moved back there shortly before the opening of school in 
1933. Originally a lumber town, it was founded by Captain H. H. Tift, for whom it 
was named. Captain Tift seems to have been a fine man, but he showed little inter- 
est in things of the Kingdom. However, his wife, Bessie Tift, was a devout Chris- 
tian and an influential member of the First Baptist Church. Tift College in Forsyth, 
Georgia, a four-year Baptist school for girls, was named for her in appreciation of 
financial assistance received. 

Tifton has grown slowly but steadily through the years, and this growth has 
been accelerated recently by the construction of the main artery to Florida, Inter- 
state 75, from which there are six exits to the town of Tifton. The district is largely 
an agricultural one, with tobacco and peanuts being the chief products. Tifton is 
also the nation's largest packer of tomato plants. These are shipped north in the 
spring to be transplanted. Abraham Baldwin College, a part of the University of 
Georgia school system, is located in Tifton, as also is the Georgia Coastal Plains 
Experiment Station. 

Mother and Daddy spent the rest of their lives in Tifton. Now we had electricity 
twenty-four hours a day. An inside bathroom replaced the outside privy, an elec- 
tric stove took the place of the wood stove, and a General Electric refrigerator 
replaced the ice box. We even had a telephone, which for me was like a new toy. 

The school system in Tifton was superior to that in Alapaha. For one thing, 
school lasted nine months instead of seven. The capacity of the school buildings, 
rather than any logical grouping of classes, determined the assignment of the first 
through the fourth grades to grammar school, the fifth through the eighth to junior 
high, and the ninth through the eleventh grades to high school. The twelve-grade 
school system was not adopted in Tifton until some time after I had graduated 
from high school. Not having as good a foundation as the other pupils, I found the 
fourth grade to be rather difficult, and James had the same experience in the sixth 
grade. 

21 



22 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Also well-founded was Mother's concern for providing James and me with bet- 
ter spiritual opportunities. Now there was preaching every Sunday as well as a 
fully graded Sunday School and a youth training program. There never was a 
question about what we would do on Sundays. Each Sunday morning we went to 
church as a family, attending Sunday School and worship. On Sunday evenings 
James and I went on ahead for the training program, while Mother and Daddy 
joined us for the evening worship service. 

We missed our Alapaha friends, but soon we had others to take their place. 
Often I would return from school with clothes torn because of playing "hare and 
hound" at recess. After school and Saturdays we enjoyed playing football, cap- 
ture the flag, kick the can, or cowboy. Rubber gun wars were fun, but they were 
rather tame. Sling shot, air rifle, and brick bat wars were another matter. James 
and I belonged to Buster Ball's gang, and we were constantly at war with Charlie 
Frank Bowman's gang. The sting of being hit by an air rifle or a sling shot soon 
faded away, but I still have a scar on my head left by a brick bat. For us this was 
play activity, and, as I recall, though there was strong rivalry, there was no real 
animosity involved. 

Responding to our constant pleading for a dog, one day Daddy brought home a 
black bench-legged feist with brown and white spots. He was supposed to be the 
family dog, but from the first I thought of him as especially mine. I remember well 
how brokenhearted I was when after a day or so he disappeared, how earnestly I 
prayed for his safe return, and how overjoyed I was when he was found and re- 
turned to us. "Sport" became my constant companion. Together we would go 
tramping in the woods or sit out on the porch and eat pecans. I taught him to ride 
the bicycle. He would straddle the top bar and balance himself with his hind feet 
on the lower bar and his front paws on the handle bars. We rode all over town 
together in this fashion. For me it was a very deep grief experience when several 
years later he contacted dumb rabies and the veterinarian had to put him away. I 
never had another dog until we went to Japan, but I've had a deep love for dogs 
ever since we had Sport. 

Every Saturday afternoon my closest friends went to the movies. These were 
usually cowboy movies with an exciting ten or twelve installment serial film in 
addition. My parents insisted that once or at most twice a month was often enough 
for us to go to the movies, so I never got to see two consecutive installments of 
any serial movie. The movie would always end just as the hero was falling off a 
building or in some great danger. There was nothing for me to do but depend on 
my friends to clue me in on the installments I missed. 

I received only one whipping at school. This came in the seventh grade and was 
administered by Miss Nan Clements, the junior high school principal. A number of 



IMPRESSIONABLE YEARS 23 

us started using a ruler as a catapult to shoot spit balls. Not only would we direct 
these wads of paper at one another, but from time to time we shot them to the ceil- 
ing, and some of them stuck. The class became deathly silent when one day the 
principal appeared. Looking at the ceiling, she said, "I wonder how those spit 
balls got there. I don't believe they got there by themselves." There was a long 
pause while she glared at each of us. Then, in a very stern tone, she asked, "Who 
did it?" Soon I confessed that I had shot some. Others also confessed. Henry 
Bostick said, "I shot one, but it didn't stick." Doubtless, this was true, but many 
others had stuck. Then she called us out of the room one at a time and demanded 
confessions from us or "squealing" on someone else. The punishment was ad- 
ministered very thoroughly by a rubber tube applied across the shoulders. 

My parents had always promised me that if I ever got a whipping in school I 
could expect another one when I got home. Much to my surprise, they did not 
carry out this threat, explaining that it was because I had been honest and had 
confessed. Later that same year, some of the boys started putting thumbtacks in 
the girls' seats. This brought the principal back to go through the same routine. 
Fortunately, this time I had had sense enough to see where the incident would 
lead and had stayed out of it. Miss Clements tried hard to get me to confess, but I 
insisted that I had not participated, and that if I had done so I would have told her 
as I had in the preceding incident. 

June 3 was always a memorable day for us. The birthday of Jefferson Davis, the 
President of the Confederacy, it was a bank holiday in Georgia and the first day of 
fishing season. Almost without fail, Daddy would take us fishing that day on the 
Alapaha River. 

We seldom bought fishbait. Nor did we dig earthworms. We "grunted" them. 
Finding a damp place where there was evidence of the presence of earthworms, 
we would drive a stob into the ground about ten inches deep, leaving about four to 
six inches above the ground. Scraping a brick back and forth across the stob 
would set up vibrations for a radius of ten to fifteen feet. The earthworms would 
then crawl to the surface, and we would pick them up and put them in a can. 
Sometimes I grunted earthworms for the fun of it and sold them to others at ridicu- 
lously low prices. 

Shortly after we moved back to Tifton our church lost its pastor. I took great in- 
terest in the calling of a new pastor and was delighted that my favorite among 
those who had come to preach "trial sermons" was called by the church and 
accepted the call. Dr. F. 0. Mixon was my pastor from my early days back in Tifton 
until my sophomore year in college. His influence on my life was greater than I 
can say. He preached without notes of any kind. One Sunday evening while he 
was preaching the lights went out and stayed out for about ten minutes. Com- 



24 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

pletely unperturbed, Dr. Mixon completed the sermon as if nothing had hap- 
pened. Later when I started preaching, Dr. Mixon's style of preaching without 
notes seemed to me the only way to do it. 

Shortly before my tenth birthday, I began to feel that I should make a public pro- 
fession of faith in Christ and be baptized. This feeling became so strong that I told 
my parents about it. Thinking that I was too young for such a decision, they never- 
theless called the pastor to talk with my brother and me. The coming of the pastor 
was not planned to coincide with my birthday, but I remember quite well that it was 
on Saturday afternoon, December 8, 1934, my tenth birthday, that Dr. Mixon came. 

Sitting in the living room of our home, he explained the plan of salvation to us 
and had each of us to lead a prayer of repentance and faith. There was much that I 
didn't understand, but I did understand that I was a sinner, that Christ had died for 
my sins, and that he would save me if I would open my heart to him. I opened my 
heart to Christ that day, and I have no doubt that at that time Christ came into my 
heart to dwell. 

Joy flooded my heart, and I could hardly wait for the invitation to be given the 
next day to make a public profession of faith. When the invitation hymn was an- 
nounced I started down the aisle, and James was close behind. Though I was 
somewhat embarrassed by all the women who hugged me, the many expressions 
of joy at my decision from various members of the congregation gave me a sense 
of belonging to the Christian family. The first Sunday night in January, James and I 
were baptized together. 

Already encouraged by the Baptist Training Union (then called the BYPU) to 
read my Bible daily, I found new meaning in this practice now that I had come into 
a personal relationship to God through Christ. Vacation Bible School, with its 
concentrated periods of Bible study, was always a joy to me. I especially delight- 
ed in memorizing Scripture. Many of the verses that I memorized as a junior boy 
are still with me. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against 
thee" (Ps. 119:11) was one of these verses. Jesus must have spent much time 
memorizing Scripture, for it was with appropriate quotations of God's Word that 
he foiled the tempter. My sixth-grade Sunday School teacher, Mr. J. B. Neesmith, 
introduced me to Isaiah 53, and it was through a junior Royal Ambassador leader, 
Mrs. W. B. Hollingsworth, that I was introduced to missions with stories of William 
Carey, Adoniram Judson, and David Livingstone. 

All of these influences helped in the shaping of my ideals. During my fourth and 
fifth grades in school I experimented with smoking grapevine leaves and coffee, 
but neither worked very well. One day I smoked three cigarettes an older boy gave 
me. Soon after becoming a Christian, though, I decided that this was not for me. I 
think it was the story of Daniel, who would not defile himself with the king's meat 



IMPRESSIONABLE YEARS 25 

or wine, which made me resolve not to smoke or drink, resolutions I have never 
violated. Once in the third grade I changed the figures on a test when we were 
allowed to correct our own papers. Quite early, I determined in my heart that an 
honest zero was better than a cheating one hundred. 

When I was about thirteen, Dr. Mixon promised a new, leather-bound Bible to 
the young person who at the end of the year would hand in the best outlines of 
fifty of his sermons. Along with several others I entered the contest with enthu- 
siasm. Each Sunday morning and Sunday evening I would sit on one of the front 
pews and take notes on the sermons. Then I would go home and rewrite my notes. 
This was a hard discipline for me at first, but through it I learned to listen to ser- 
mons without letting my mind wander. When the year was over and I handed in my 
revised notes of fifty of the preacher's sermons, I won first place, for in the end I 
was the only contestant. I often jokingly compare this to the time when in the 
eighth grade I won second place in a speech contest. You guessed it. There were 
only two contestants. 

This new Dickson Bible was one of my dearest treasures. It was so pretty that I 
felt that I should not mark it up. One night, though, as I was reading my Bible, God 
spoke to me through 1 Timothy 4:12: "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou 
an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, 
in purity." Resolving that I wanted to be that kind of person, I underlined this 
verse. From then on, I followed the practice of underlining verses that seemed 
particularly meaningful to me. 

While I was in the seventh grade I became interested in girls. Mary George Mar- 
tin invited me to her prom party and talked to me in a very flirtatious manner. One 
afternoon I rode by her house on the bicycle a dozen times or more, hoping that 
she would happen to come out as I just happened to pass by. Unfortunately, she 
didn't. One evening in the park after a scout meeting Tim Herring jumped me, and 
we had our first fight. I learned then that he was also sweet on Mary George. Ap- 
parently, she had given him the same treatment she had given me. I remember 
how I felt like a traitor to the gang when I fell from the ranks of the "girl haters." 
From this time until ! was married I don't think there was ever a two-week period 
when I didn't have a favorite girl friend. 

Mother always claimed that she and Daddy treated James and me just alike, but 
there were a few points at which I felt this was not the case. Occasionally, Daddy 
went on bank business to Atlanta. Mother and Daddy let James stay with some of 
his friends, but, over my protests, they took me along with them. While Daddy 
attended his bank meetings, Mother would pull me about from one department 
store to another while she tried on what seemed like every dress and hat in the 
house. Often at the close of the day she would return to the first department store 



26 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

she had entered and buy the first dress she had tried on. To this day I despise 
shopping. A feeling of deep depression comes over me whenever I am forced into 
a department store. 

Nor were James and I treated the same with regard to work opportunities. When 
he entered his teens, he began to take various jobs. Some Saturdays he worked in 
a grocery store. A summer or two he worked as a "soda jerk" in one of the local 
drugstores. Later he began to work with Daddy in the bank. Naturally, I expected 
to follow the same course upon attaining that age. But it was not to be! 

Mother said, "Bob, you know I don't have anyone to help me. You just stay here 
and help me, and I'll pay you." My vote didn't count! A meticulous housekeeper, 
Mother would grab the vacuum cleaner out of my hand and go over the rug I had 
just vacuumed. And when I was doing yard work, she would do the same with the 
rake. To this day housework and yard work don't rate high among my pastimes. 

Another point where I felt unfair discrimination was in football. James had gone 
out for football the spring of his sophomore year, and I had expected to do the 
same. When as a sophomore I announced that I was going out for spring football 
practice, Mother was adamant in insisting that I couldn't, and Daddy backed her 
up. Mother explained that all during the time that James participated in this sport 
she had lived in mortal fear of his getting some dreadful injury. She resolutely 
declared that she was not going through that again. Tifton was a football town and 
interest in the sport was quite high. The new coach, who was giving Tifton a win- 
ning team, instilled into the players the idea that anyone who didn't play football 
was a nobody or a sissy. This became the reason for another fight with Tim Her- 
ring. 

During a student convocation, when I made some statement that Tim didn't like, 
he said, "I'll see you after school." "That's fine with me," I answered. But he 
knew and I knew that the reason for the fight was that I didn't play football. A 
crowd gathered after school as we left the school grounds and went over to the 
lawn of the Primitive Baptist Church nearby. He blacked my eye, and I bloodied 
his nose before the high school principal got wind of it and sent a teacher to break 
it up. Later Tim wrote in my senior annual, "Bob, I have enjoyed knowing you 
although we never seem to agree," a very charitable statement, I thought. 

There were compensations, however, for not playing football. It gave me time 
for other activities. I was on the debate team in both my junior and senior years. In 
those days a debate team took only one side, and I chose the negative side both 
times. The first year the subject was: "Resolved: that the government should own 
and operate the railroads," and the second time it was: "Resolved: that the power 
of the federal government should be increased." My best friend during my high 
school days, Howard Smith, took the affirmative side on both of these issues. To 
go beyond our area to debate both teams had to win. Both times the negative team 



IMPRESSIONABLE YEARS 27 

won, and the affirmative lost. Perhaps the real reason for this outcome was that 
public opinion was heavily tilted toward the negative side on both of these issues. 
Another compensation was that my high school year I was elected editor of the 
Talisman, the high school annual. While I was busy editing the annual, my friend, 
Howard, was editing the Pioneer, the high school paper. Both of us thought that 
our products were the best the school had ever had. The annual contained the 
prophecy for our class. Entitled "Days to Come," it represented the goddess of 
fortune as musing about the class of '41 . The prophecy about me was as follows: 

Bob Culpepper rose to be one of the greatest bankers on Wall Street, but when 
the government took over the railroads, he decided to go to Africa. The patron 
saint sighed and said, "Too bad he didn't go sooner; he'd have made a swell mis- 
sionary." 

This strikes me now as quite amusing: first, because I would have made a terrible 
banker, and second, because I did become a missionary. 

During my high school days I had one truly inspiring teacher. Whether she was 
teaching grammar or literature, Miss Ida Belle Williams could teach in such a way 
as to stimulate my interest and make me remember what she taught. The quota- 
tions of great literary-passages which she had us memorize are still a part of my 
intellectual equipment. She taught us how to compose sentences and write 
themes, a discipline for which ! shall ever be grateful. 

In one of my themes— I believe it was before I studied under Miss Williams— I 
wrote on the race problem. When I read it to my parents, they were very much dis- 
turbed that I insisted on saying that a Negro is as good as I am. "Bob, you don't 
mean that," Mother protested. "Yes, I do," I replied. I really don't know where I 
got my liberal views on race unless it was from reading the Bible under the leader- 
ship of the Holy Spirit. I certainly had not received these views from my family. 
Neither had I gained them from church. Sunday School and Training Union pre- 
sentations in those days avoided the subject. The preacher also was eloquently 
silent in the matter. One day I asked him, "Dr. Mixon, why don't you preach on 
race relations?" "It isn't expedient" were the very words he used in answer. A 
more honest answer could hardly be imagined. 

As I entered high school, people began to ask me, "Bob, what are you going to 
do when you finish school? Be a preacher?" "Goodness, no! Anything but that," I 
replied with all the emphasis I could command. For some strange reason I thought 
that a preacher couldn't have any fun. Moreover, visiting sick people and attend- 
ing funerals were very distasteful to me. But they continued to ask, "What are you 
going to do, be a preacher?" "No, I don't think so," I began to answer. Finally, my 
answer weakened until I was saying, "I don't know." 



4 
College Days 



The decision about which college to attend was not made until I graduated from 
high school. James had gone to Clemson College in South Carolina along with a 
close high school friend. However, a kidney problem which showed up during his 
sophomore year made it necessary for him to drop out of college for a while for a 
major operation and a long period of convalescence. By the time he was ready to 
return to college, he had decided he wanted to study business and transferred to 
Mercer University. 

Emory University in Atlanta was my first choice, largely because two high 
school classmates were going there. Mother and Daddy, however, wanted me to 
go to Mercer to be with James. This did not seem to me a good reason for choos- 
ing Mercer, since I was eager to establish my own identity. However, when Daddy 
pointed out that Mercer was a good bit cheaper than Emory I agreed to go there. 
My quiet acquiescence in the matter had a deeper root than I acknowledged. 
Deep down I felt that I might be called into the gospel ministry, and, if so, a school 
of my own denomination would be better for me, I thought. 

Founded by Jesse Mercer in Penfield, Georgia, in 1833, Mercer is one of the 
oldest Baptist colleges in the United States. Since 1871, it has been located in 
Macon, Georgia, about a hundred miles south of Atlanta. It had no more than five 
or six hundred students when I enrolled there in the fall of 1941 . The war brought a 
drop in civilian enrollment but an overall increase in the student body because of 
the V-12 Program. 

Going off to college was an exciting experience for me. It meant new freedom 
and an opportunity for self-discovery. Mother and Daddy had held a rather tight 
rein on me, so I was glad to be on my own. Now I could determine my own sched- 
ule instead of having it regulated by them. Finding dormitory life interesting, my 
new freedom exhilarating, and my studies rather demanding, I returned home 
only for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring holidays. James, on the other hand, 
returned to Tifton as often as possible, partly to be with his girl friend who timed 
her visits back from Valdosta State College to coincide with his from Mercer, and 
partly to be with Mother and Daddy. 
28 



COLLEGE DAYS 29 

Much to my surprise, I discovered that I really didn't know how to study. Almost 
without fail, I wasted a lot of time before really getting down to work. This neces- 
sitated my studying until one or two in the morning. As a result, I was sleepy in 
class the next day and often had to take an afternoon nap. It took a while before I 
learned to handle the freedom of dormitory life with any degree of efficiency. 

My roommate the first year was out nearly every night until one or two o'clock. 
He missed so many classes that he soon failed out of school and entered military 
service. After a while I discovered that I could study well in the library. This deliv- 
ered me from the temptation of spending the early evening hours visiting with 
friends in the dormitory or having them visit with me. Using the early evening 
hours well enabled me to finish my work by midnight. The extra sleep that I gained 
increased my overall efficiency. 

Coming out of a freshman English class one day, I noticed that the boy in front 
of me was walking stiff-legged and making a lot of noise as he went down the 
stairs. I said, "Boy, you walk just like you've got a wooden leg." "I have" was his 
reply. If I had had my wits about me I would have answered, "Yeah, and I've got a 
wooden head." But then, if I had had my wits about me, I wouldn't have made 
such a stupid remark in the first place. 

The twenty-minute vesper services conducted by the students every evening in 
the chapel made a deep impression on me. Here students expressed their own 
ideas in interesting talks on various aspects of the Christian life, a far cry from the 
mechanical recitation of a few ideas found in the Training Union quarterly, the 
type of thing to which I had become accustomed. Moreover, when they prayed it 
sounded as though they were really talking with God, not just reciting trite phras- 
es they had heard from others. 

Early in the fall there was a vesper program promoting the prayer-mate move- 
ment. Soon after this an upper classman who was studying for the ministry asked 
me to be his prayer mate. Not really sure I wanted a prayer-mate, I was doubly 
uneasy because he was a ministerial student. Afraid of being pressured into 
something I was not ready for, I wanted to say, "No, thank you," but unable to 
think of a polite way of declining, I answered, "Let me think about it." I dismissed 
it from my mind until several days later when he asked again. This time I very hesi- 
tantly agreed, and for the rest of the year we met together for prayer about once a 
week. 

Howard Walters, a junior student who was president of the Baptist Student 
Union, roomed across from me in the dormitory. A very likable chap, he took a 
genuine interest in me and started telling me about the State BSU Convention to 
be held in Athens, Georgia the last weekend in October. I had mixed feelings 
about the BSU Convention, but when I learned that it was to take place homecom- 
ing weekend, that settled it for me. The Friday and Saturday nights the BSU Con- 



30 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

vention was to be held in Athens the two biggest dances of the year were sched- 
uled, off campus, of course. Partly because I really wanted to go to the dances, 
and partly to have an excuse for not going to the convention, I made dates for both 
of these dances with a girl from Wesleyan College whom I had already dated a few 
times. 

On the third Sunday night in October, Dr. E. Stanley Jones, world-famous 
evangelist and missionary to India, spoke in the city auditorium. Though I had 
never heard of Dr. Jones before, I was eager to hear him, because the pastor of 
the Tattnall Baptist Church, the church which I attended, said that he was one of 
the greatest Christians in the world. That night I asked Dorothea Kilgore to go with 
me to the auditorium to hear Dr. Jones. Dot, as she was called, was a senior at 
Mercer. She had the reputation of dating a different freshman each year. After 
preaching or lecturing for almost an hour about the life completely committed to 
God, Dr. Jones asked those who wanted to hear more to remain in the auditorium 
while the others filed out quietly. Thinking to myself, "This may be a trap," I was 
about to tell Dot, "Let's go," when she turned to me and said, "Let's stay." So we 
stayed. 

Dr. Jones spoke even more personally for a few moments about what it means 
to surrender everything to Christ. Then he led a prayer and asked us to pray it 
aloud after him as our own prayer. I prayed the prayer without hesitation until he 
came to the sentence, "From this day on I am wholly thine." At that moment, I 
knew quite clearly that God was calling me into the ministry, but I could not accept 
the call because all I could think of were the homecoming dances. As soon as the 
service ended, we started out of the auditorium. Dot turned to me and asked, 
"Why don't you become a preacher?" Dr. Jones had said nothing specifically 
about vocational Christian service. Stunned by this question that hit me like a bolt 
out of the blue, I answered lamely, "Oh, I haven't thought much about it," and 
turned the conversation in another direction. But I couldn't help wondering: Why 
did she ask this particular question just at the time the Lord has been speaking to 
me about it?\\ seemed to me that it was not just a coincidence. 

The next day Dr. Jones spoke to a full chapel at Mercer University, lecturing for 
about forty-five minutes on "Science and Religion." At the close of his lecture the 
students gave him a standing ovation, something completely unprecedented. 
When they continued clapping, he stood up and said, "It has been suggested that 
I should give the talk on commitment that I gave at the city auditorium last night." 
Thereupon, he gave basically the same talk that he had given in the after-service 
the previous evening. Then he led in prayer and asked us to pray this prayer si- 
lently after him. It was the same prayer he had used the night before. I got along 
fine until he came to the words, "From this day on I am wholly thine." Again, very 



COLLEGE DAYS 31 

clearly, I felt that God was calling me into the gospel ministry. This time, feeling 
the call was inescapable, I answered, "After the homecoming dances." 

Dr. Jones suggested that we write our decisions in our Bibles. Feeling that it 
would not be appropriate to write, "After the homecoming dances I will be wholly 
thine," I decided not to write anything. That Monday night, however, as I was 
reading Bulfinch's Mythology for an English assignment, the lines began to run 
together. Putting this book down, I picked up my prized Dickson Bible and wrote 
my commitment: "From this day henceforth I shall live for Christ, putting him first 
in my thinking and actions, as best I know how. October 20, 1941 . R.H.C." Follow- 
ing this experience, I went to my prayer mate's room in the dorm and shared the 
experience with him. He rejoiced with me in the decision, and we had a time of 
prayer together. 

After writing home about the experience, I received a letter from Daddy that 
went something like this: "Bob, you know that when you were about eighteen 
months old you had double pneumonia. I haven't told you this before, but you 
were so sick that your Mother and I were afraid we were going to lose you. I 
prayed then as I had never prayed before, and I promised the Lord that if he would 
let you get well, should he ever need you in his service, I would do nothing to 
hinder you and do everything I could to help you. I have watched you through the 
years. I have seen you give your heart to the Lord, and have seen you grow as a 
Christian in worship and in prayer and Bible study. I am not at all surprised. I knew 
that it was coming. Just be doubly sure you know what you are doing, for Jesus 
says, 'No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the 
kingdom of God' "(Luke 9:62). 

Interpreting Daddy's letter as a confirmation of my decision and as an indication 
that I had not chosen the Lord but that he had chosen me, I rejoiced greatly and 
praised the Lord for his faithfulness. I don't think I had ever paid any attention be- 
fore to the verse of Scripture that Daddy quoted, but his use of it in this way made 
an indelible impression upon me. 

Along with this decision came a change in my sense of values. Discovering that 
all interest in the homecoming dances was gone, I realized now that what I really 
wanted to do was to attend the BSU Convention. Dancing dropped out of my life 
completely, but I didn't miss it because of "the expulsive power of a new affec- 
tion." On Saturday afternoon I made a date with the girl from Wesleyan, explained 
to her as best I could what had happened to me, and broke the dates for the home- 
coming dances. 

The BSU Convention was fully as great as Howard Walters had said it was going 
to be. The whole program seemed tailored for my needs, while the opportunity for 
fellowship with Christians from other colleges as well as my own was a special de- 



32 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

light. Dot Kilgore gave me a jolt at this convention, however, when she told me as 
nicely as she could that I was not to think of her as my girl friend. She said that she 
liked me, but explained that I was much too young for her and indicated that be- 
fore long she hoped to get married. This was very fair on her part, for, as a matter 
of fact, I was beginning to fall for her. We continued to be friends, but now the re- 
lationship had been clarified. By the end of the year Dot did get married and to a 
young man who was a freshman like me. Soon he dropped out of college to enter 
military service and in a very short time was reported missing in action. 

Through this call to the ministry I received a new sense of direction and purpose 
that colored everything I did from that point on. I was deeply grateful that it came 
before Pearl Harbor, because it saved me from the charge of using the ministry to 
avoid the draft. Congress declared war on Japan and the Axis powers on my sev- 
enteenth birthday. When I registered for the draft at eighteen, I was classified 4-D. 
Too young to enter the chaplaincy, I considered dropping out of school and enter- 
ing military service at that time. However, various people encouraged me to stay 
in school, reminding me that man's deepest problems are spiritual and that I was 
preparing myself to help meet those needs. 

Upon graduation from Mercer, James was inducted into the Navy, but his mili- 
tary career was short-lived. His kidney ailment had not cleared up fully, so he was 
given an honorable discharge and classified 4-F. 

I had already pledged SAE when the call to vocational Christian service came to 
me. But pledging the fraternity was one thing, while being initiated into it was an- 
other. For some time I debated whether I should allow myself to be initiated. A fra- 
ternity by its very nature is an exclusive social club. Its main purposes are to en- 
tertain its members, develop within the fraternity a sense of brotherhood, and 
achieve a higher standing on the campus than any other fraternity. 

At this time, Mercer didn't permit fraternity houses, but SAE had a lodge off 
campus. Here the fraternity brothers hung out, chatting together and playing 
Ping-Pong and cards. I enjoyed the Ping-Pong, but I wasn't interested in cards, 
and I no longer attended the social dances sponsored by the fraternity. Feeling 
that there was a need for a Christian witness within the fraternity, I finally decided 
to be initiated, although I felt no personal need for what the fraternity had to offer. 
Paul's words: "And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews 
... To them that are without law, as without law . . . that I might gain them that are 
without law" (1 Cor. 9:20-21) were crucial in my decision. I think that perhaps I did 
have some positive influence within the fraternity, though my identification with it 
was too shallow for me to make a very deep impression. The most gratifying expe- 
rience I had was seeing one fraternity brother to whom I had witnessed make a 
profession of faith and receive baptism. 



COLLEGE DAYS 33 

Having had one year less, high school preparation than many of my fellow class- 
mates, I found Mercer rather difficult at first and resolved to limit my activities in 
order to give as much time as possible to my studies. After Christmas, however, I 
began to feel that I would like to sing in the glee club. For three years I had sung in 
my high school glee club, first as a first tenor, then as a baritone, and finally as a 
bass. Having been accepted into the high school glee club without a tryout, along 
with almost everyone else who wanted to sing, I was not at all sure I could make it 
at Mercer. Not knowing music and being unable to follow the notes very well, I had 
managed to get along in my high school days by always standing next to someone 
who could sing my part well and singing along with him. 

"May I join the glee club?" I asked the director one day. 

"Well, I'm busy now and don't have time to give you a tryout. Have you ever 
sung before?" 

"Yes, I sang three years in my high school glee club." 

"What part?" 

"Bass." 

"Well, just sing along with basses until I have time to give you a tryout," the di- 
rector said. 

Happy with this response, I joined the bass section. I continued to sing with the 
basses, and since the director made no further mention of a tryout to me, I didn't 
broach the subject to him. In the spring when the glee club went on tour I went 
along like a full-fledged member. 

The next fall I went out for glee club again. The director's rule that all who had 
sung in the Mercer Glee Club the year before didn't need a tryout saved me again. 
All went well until the middle of the year, when the glee club director suddenly re- 
signed, and Mercer replaced him with an excellent musician from Wesleyan Con- 
servatory. The first day he was with us he didn't like the way the basses were 
singing the new piece he had just handed us. To my utter consternation, however, 
instead of asking the basses to sing it together, he singled me out and ordered, 
"You sing." This was my last day in the glee club. About this time the pressure of 
my school work and my other activities became so great— so I like to explain it— 
that I never went back to glee club practice again. What bothered me was that no 
one came after me saying, "We've missed you in the glee club lately." Doubtless, 
I made my greatest contribution to the Mercer Glee Club by leaving it. 

More and more activities related to the Baptist Student Union became central in 
my life. The emphasis was upon "maximum Christianity," a term coined by Dr. 
Frank Leavell, Southwide BSU Secretary, to signify complete dedication to God, 
every person being the best Christian he could possibly be in all of the relation- 
ships of life. Once a year the Baptist Student Union sponsored a Christian Focus 



34 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Week at Mercer University. During this week a team of outstanding Christian per- 
sonalities visited the campus, spoke each day in chapel, visited each class at 
least once, and held various extracurricular seminars. To my mind by far the most 
outstanding of the Christian Focus Week speakers who came to Mercer during my 
student days was Dr. Clarence Jordan. A winsome Georgian with a distinct South- 
ern drawl, he made the New Testament come alive as he applied its teachings to 
the problem of race relations in the South. I was deeply impressed with the level 
of his identification with the Negro (the term used in those days), and the degree 
to which he sought not the conventional nor the safe approach, but the mind of 
Christ in the matter. 

Dr. Jordan interpreted the parable of the good Samaritan in Georgian terms: 
The traveller was on his way from Atlanta to Albany when he was assaulted. The 
preacher and the song leader passed the helpless victim by, lest he interrupt their 
busy schedules and his blood ruin the upholstery of their new cars. However, a 
Negro, passing by in his Model A Ford, had compassion on the white man and 
helped him. Dr. Jordan was also a favorite of students at Ridgecrest Baptist As- 
sembly until his refusal to hedge when asked a question and his insistence that 
radical, biblical teachings be translated into action resulted in his no longer being 
invited. Later, he became famous for his Cotton Patch Gospels and his Cotton 
Patch Letters, as well as for his founding and leadership of the Koinonia Farm 
near Americus, Georgia. 

During my student days I never missed a Baptist Student Union state conven- 
tion, spring retreat, or a Southwide student week at Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly 
in North Carolina. These summer retreats at Ridgecrest were particularly mean- 
ingful to me. One morning in June of 1942, R. G. Letourneau was scheduled to 
speak. When word came that his arrival would be delayed because his plane was 
late, Reiji Hoshizaki, a second-generation Japanese-American living in Texas, 
was invited on the spur of the moment to give his testimony. Speaking first of his 
Buddhist background, he then told of how through the loving concern of a pastor 
in Waco, Texas he had heard the gospel for the first time and been led to Christ. 
Reiji was the first person of Japanese ancestry I had ever known. Later when the 
question of whether I should become a missionary to Japan had become a live is- 
sue for me, contact with Reiji, who was then in the seminary with me, made me 
feel that it would not be difficult to love the Japanese. 

At this first summer retreat at Ridgecrest, among other things, I resolved not to 
study on Sunday. Though I was doubtless quite legalistic in the observance of this 
rule, setting apart this day as a special day of rest and worship made each Sunday 
a great delight, a spiritual oasis at the beginning of every week. 

During my first summer as a college student, I worked in the bank with Daddy. 



COLLEGE DAYS 35 

This was my second or third summer to do this. I showed no aptitude for banking, 
however, for when I had finished the task assigned to me I would pick up a book 
and start reading rather than look for other bank work to do. 

My first sermon was preached in my home church in August of 1942. One day 
after the morning service Dr. Mixon told me that he was going to be away the fol- 
lowing Sunday and asked me to preach for him at the First Baptist Church in both 
the morning and evening service. Expressing gratitude for this opportunity, I ac- 
cepted without hesitation. Using Romans 1:14-16 as the text for my first message 
and "Debtor, Ready, Unashamed" as my sermon title, I spoke for about twenty- 
five minutes Dr. Mixon-style, that is, without notes. Mother had worried about my 
preaching for a whole week, but she was thrilled with the outcome. It was many 
years before she would acknowledge that any sermon I preached was as good as 
the first one. 

For the rest of my time at Mercer I attended summer school each year. These 
were war years, and those of us who were in school knew that we were fortunate 
to be there. We had classes six days a week, and except for the Christmas period 
we had no holidays. We even had classes as usual on New Year's Day, Indepen- 
dence Day, and Thanksgiving Day. On daylight saving time throughout the year, in 
the wintertime we would go to our eight o'clock classes in the dark and come out 
of them just as the sun was rising. 

During my last three academic years at Mercer, Marvin Greene was my room- 
mate. A pre-med student from Perry, Georgia, Marvin was one of the most brilliant 
persons I have ever known. He was graduated from Mercer summa cum laude, 
having the highest academic record any student had recorded in ten years. De- 
spite his academic brilliance, he was by no means an egghead, but was deeply in- 
volved in campus life. His fellow students showed their appreciation of him by 
electing him president of the student body his senior year. 

I owe more to Marvin than I can express. He majored in science and math, but 
his interests were universal— literature, history, religion, philosophy, and music 
being of special interest to him. Through Marvin I learned to appreciate good 
music. From time to time I would come into the room to find him so engrossed in a 
symphony that tears were streaming down his face and he was completely un- 
aware of my presence. 

I guess we were like "The Odd Couple." Marvin was extremely neat, and my un- 
tidiness was no doubt a big problem for him. One day on my desk I found a note 
from him telling me to contact him right away. Thinking it to be something urgent I 
sought him out and asked him about it. "Oh, that?" he answered. "I left that note 
on your desk three weeks ago. I just wanted to see how long it would take you to 
find it." 



36 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

A diabetic who had to give himself an insulin injection every day, Marvin never 
got married. He always said that he wasn't going to live long and that it would be 
unfair to pass his diabetic condition on to another generation. After finishing 
medical school at Augusta, Georgia, Marvin served as a general practitioner in 
Monticello, a little town in central Georgia. True to his own prophecy, he died 
young, while he was in his thirties. 

James A. Lee from Leesburg, Georgia, was also a good friend. Tuberculosis of 
the bone suffered at an early age left Jimmy with one leg undeveloped and several 
inches shorter than the other one. Doubts concerning the miracles recorded in 
the Bible plagued him, and, seeking help for himself rather than trying to propa- 
gate his views, he expressed his doubts rather freely in student bull sessions. 
Hearing of Jimmy's unorthodox ideas, Dick Home, the acting registrar, displayed 
his narrow mentality by threatening to have Jimmy dismissed from school, calling 
him "more dangerous than a rattlesnake." Indignant, Marvin and I came to 
Jimmy's defense, though we didn't endorse his views. Bonds of friendship were 
forged during those days that have lasted through the years. Jimmy has given his 
life unselfishly in the service of others, his chosen profession being that of a high 
school English teacher. 

Recognizing that I would have an opportunity to study the Bible in the seminary, 
I majored in English and minored in philosophy. Never have I had an occasion to 
regret these choices. A basic understanding of the grammatical structure of my 
native language has been of inestimable value as I have sought to communicate 
the Christian faith, both in English and in Japanese. My study of philosophy 
proved to be a big help also when I turned later to theology. 

Two university professors were particularly inspiring. Whether he was discours- 
ing on Browning or Carlyle, Professor W. T. Smalley taught in such a way as to 
hold my attention, stimulate my interest, provoke insight, and inspire a love of the 
subject he taught. His exams were particularly memorable. "Don't try to spot me. 
Learn the course," he aptly advised his students. He framed his exams in such a 
way that they cut across the material studied, and anyone who had not learned to 
think and apply what he had learned was hopelessly lost in taking one of his 
exams. 

Dr. George Gordh, a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago, was 
just beginning his teaching career when I studied under him. An exciting lecturer, 
Dr. Gordh also knew how to guide a discussion and evoke the best from his stu- 
dents. I liked him so well that I took nearly everything he taught. 

During the summer of 1943, 1 was called as pastor of the Shiloh-Lamar Baptist 
Church, a quarter-time church in Monroe County. This church called for my ordin- 
ation, and it was performed by my home church August 29, 1943. 



COLLEGE DAYS 37 

The ordination council met on Sunday afternoon, and the ordination service was 
that night. Rev. James Windham, a native son of the First Baptist Church in Tifton, 
preached the ordination sermon, using Isaiah 61 :1-2 as his text. 

Every time I used to participate in the ordination council fora Japanese pastor, I'd 
shudder to recall how unprepared I was when I was ordained. Now most Japanese 
pastors in our denomination have finished their seminary work and have served as 
a pastor for two or three years before being ordained. In the early post-war years, 
some served as a pastor for as long as fifteen years before ordination. Japanese 
churches of all denominations take very seriously the biblical injunction: "Do not 
be hasty in the laying on of hands" (1 Tim. 5:22, RSV). 

Normally a candidate for ordination in a church of the Japan Baptist Convention 
reads a carefully prepared testimony concerning his conversion experience and 
call to the ministry, along with a rather detailed exposition of his understanding of 
the doctrinal content of the Christian faith. After reading this statement for about 
an hour, the candidate submits to questioning concerning anything which he 
might have said or left unsaid in his written statement. 

My examination was starkly simple in comparison with this. Having prepared no 
written statement at all, I simply gave my testimony concerning my conversion 
and call to the ministry, and then sought to answer various questions concerning 
my doctrinal beliefs. For the most part the questions were simple, and I did not 
have too much difficulty. When asked about the doctrine of election, however, I 
had to admit quite frankly that I did not understand it. Rev. Davis M. Sanders, who 
by this time had succeeded Dr. Mixon as pastor of my mother church, came to my 
rescue by saying that he did not understand it either and then quoting the face- 
tious explanation of a black preacher to the effect that "God votes for you, the 
devil votes against you, and your vote decides." 

The whole experience stands out in my mind as a pleasant memory. I was great- 
ly encouraged by the confidence which others, particularly people from my home 
church, expressed in me, and I was cheered by the presence in the ordination 
service of Marvin Greene, my college roommate, and Ezrel Wages, a BSU friend 
from Emory University, as well as a delegation from the Shiloh-Lamar Baptist 
Church to which I had been called. 

Once a month on Sunday mornings a Greyhound bus carried me almost to the 
door of the church and brought me back late in the evening. My service there con- 
sisted of a sermon in the morning, visiting in the afternoon, and another sermon in 
the evening, for which I received fifteen dollars. 

Thinking I would need a hat to enhance my dignity, James gave me a brown felt 
hat as a Christmas present. The first Sunday I wore it I sat on it at one place and 
forgot it at another. It didn't take me long to decide that this was a piece of apparel 



38 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

that I could easily do without. Since then I have never worn a hat. 

My first baptismal service was held in a pond in the community after a summer 
revival. Warned about a place where the concrete bottom of the pond around the 
edge suddenly dropped off to a mud bottom a foot or so below, I succeeded in get- 
ting into the deep water without mishap and in leading the baptismal candidate out 
safely. After performing the baptism, while the congregation stood on the bank 
singing, I forgot about the drop-off. As I was coming out my legs hit the concrete 
shelf, and I sprawled in the water in front of everyone. 

During my last year at Mercer, I heard Dr. W. Maxfield Garrott, missionary to 
Japan, speak once in chapel. Though his speech was not particularly impressive, 
the man himself was. For one thing, there was a glow on his face, and I had the 
feeling that it was not simply a broad smile but a radiance that came from the in- 
side. Another thing that impressed me was his deep love for the Japanese peo- 
ple. These were war years, and it was most unusual to hear anyone express love 
for them. Besides that, this man had been confined for six months in a Japanese 
girls' school, not the kind of experience that normally evokes love for the people 
by whom one is being imprisoned. At that time I had no thought of missionary ser- 
vice. Little did I realize that our paths would cross again, and that this time the 
Lord would use this man to show me that my place of service was Japan. 

All in all, college was a very pleasant experience for me. I served as local BSU 
president and state BSU president, and was elected to Blue Key, an honorary 
leadership fraternity, and to Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges 
and Universities before being graduated magna cum laude, October 26, 1944. 



5 
The Seminary 



Whenever Dr. Mixon and Rev. Davis M. Sanders, the two pastors of my home 
church who were most influential in my life, spoke of the seminary, they always 
meant The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Most 
of my ministerial friends of Mercer days, such as Howard Walters, Charles Stand- 
ridge, and Charlie Clark, had already gone to Southern Seminary or were planning 
to go there. 

At Ridgecrest I had been deeply impressed with the way Dr. Harold W. Tribble, 
professor of theology at Southern, fielded questions and used the Bible in his 
answers. I was looking forward to studying under him. Dr. Leo Green, professor of 
Old Testament interpretation at Southern, whom I had heard at a BSU convention, 
had thrilled me with his preaching, and Dr. Edward A. McDowell, professor of New 
Testament interpretation, who had visited Mercer during a Christian Focus Week, 
had impressed me with his understanding of the New Testament. Surely a tre- 
mendous experience awaited me, I thought. 

Southern Seminary at this time was in a period of transition. Dr. Ellis A. Fuller 
had been president of the seminary for about two years when I entered it the last 
week of November in 1944. The seminary's two giants, Dr. W. 0. Carver in mis- 
sions and Dr. John R. Sampey in Old Testament, had already retired, but made 
appearances on the campus from time to time. Dr. J. McKee Adams in biblical 
backgrounds and Dr. W. Hersey Davis in New Testament died while I was a stu- 
dent at Southern. Promising newcomers like Clyde T. Francisco and J. J. "Red- 
top" Owens in Old Testament, Wayne E. Oates in pastoral care, and Dale Moody 
in theology were just beginning their teaching careers during my undergraduate 
years in the seminary. 

The method of instruction employed by nearly all the older men, Dr. Jesse B. 
Weatherspoon and Dr. Gaines S. Dobbins excepted, seemed, to me, to be a gram- 
mar-school approach. Most of the class hour was spent calling students by name 
and having them stand up and recite. The assignments were cut-and-dried. For 
the most part, there was little excitement in the classroom. Even Dr. Tribble, 

39 



40 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

whose teaching I had looked forward to with great anticipation, expected his stu- 
dents to memorize virtually everything in E. Y. Mullins' The Christian Religion in 
Its Doctrinal Expression. 

Before exams the professors gave lists of questions from which the exams 
would be taken. Students then divided into teams, typed out answers to the ques- 
tions, which they then exchanged with one another, and then virtually memorized 
the answers. Certain enterprising students even employed their typewriters and 
mimeograph machines to "market" answers to the questions. 

Having expected seminary to be an advance over college, I was deeply disap- 
pointed that it seemed to be a retrogression. Severely shaken when Ray Brown, 
with whom I had held many theological bull sessions in the dormitory, transferred 
to Yale Divinity School at the end of my first year, for a time I considered doing the 
same. Gradually, however, the situation began to change. The new men, particu- 
larly Dale Moody and Wayne Oates, came in like a breath of fresh air. Before I fin- 
ished my doctorate, there was hardly a man on the faculty who was still employing 
the old, outmoded recitation method. More and more, students were expected to 
read widely and do creative research. Southern Seminary, even in its undergrad- 
uate studies, had advanced in educational methodology at least to the level of the 
colleges from which the students had come, if not beyond that. 

During the summer of 1945, my brother James, having already begun his bank- 
ing career, married his high school sweetheart, Mary Thaxton Bowen, and moved 
to Thomaston to live. That same summer I served as Associate Pastor of the Warn- 
er Robins Baptist Church, where Rev. C. T. Stitt, the pastor of the church, treated 
me like a son. Preaching in one of the services every Sunday, working in Vacation 
Bible School and Sunday School, and engaging in daily pastoral visitation, I had a 
very busy, but meaningful, summer. Just before the close of my period of service 
at Warner Robins, word came on August 14 that the Japanese had accepted the 
terms of surrender and World War II had finally come to an end. The inter- 
denominational Thanksgiving service that year in the First Methodist Church in 
Tifton was unforgettable. 

With the close of the war came the opening of many doors that had long been 
closed to missions. A new missionary concern began to sweep the campus of 
Southern Seminary in the fall of 1945. From all over the world there came the call 
for more missionaries. At that time there were five and a half million Southern 
Baptists, but only five hundred fifty foreign missionaries, a proportion of one in 
ten thousand. When I considered the facts that God loves all peoples, that Christ 
died for all, and that Jesus declared that the field is the world and that he com- 
manded us to preach the gospel to everyone, I couldn't help wondering if the pro- 
portion of one in ten thousand was the one the Lord had ordained, or if we as 



THE SEMINARY 41 

Southern Baptists weren't failing him in the missionary task. Remembering our 
Lord's words, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye 
therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his har- 
vest" (Matt. 9:37-38), I began to pray that God would call forth more missionaries. 

As I prayed, concern deepened, and I felt the Lord asking me, "Well, Bob, why 
don't you go?" I hadn't anticipated this, because I had been praying for God to call 
others, not me. The question, "Why don't you go?" nagged at my heart and called 
for an answer. Immediately, I began making excuses, saying, "Becoming a mis- 
sionary would involve separation from friends and loved ones. It would mean also 
that I would have to learn a language, and I don't like foreign languages." Trying 
to face these excuses honestly, I had to admit that they were basically self- 
centered. Then I began to ask myself what assets I might have for the missionary 
calling. I thought of the good health with which I had been blessed and of the fair 
degree of adaptability which I possessed. 

Still I wasn't sure that the Lord was calling me. Nevertheless, God had led me to 
the place where I was willing to pray, "0 God, if it is thy will for me to be a mission- 
ary, make it clearly and unmistakably known, and I will follow where thou dost 
lead." It was with this prayer in my heart and on my lips that I attended the Mis- 
sionary Day service in the chapel of Southern Seminary, December 12, 1945. The 
preacher that day was Dr. W. Maxfield Garrott, missionary to Japan, with whom I 
was later to be associated in the faculty of the theological department of Seinan 
Gakuin University (our Baptist seminary). I remember little that Dr. Garrott said 
then, but I will never forget the letter from Miss Akiko Endo, a Japanese Christian 
student, which he read. Writing just after the close of the war, she said something 
like this: "The Japanese people are not an especially wicked people above other 
peoples. They are a misguided people. Oh, America, blessed nation, send us 
shepherds for the sheep." As I heard this letter, I received the distinct impression 
that the Lord himself was calling me to become a missionary. Within my heart 
there was a response, "I'll go, I'll go." When the invitation was given, I registered 
my response in that service by standing to indicate that I was offering my life to 
God for missionary service. With this decision there came a new joy and peace. 
Before hearing God's call, I had felt that I didn't want to be a missionary. Now I 
knew that more than anything else in the world that was what I wanted, because I 
believed it to be God's will for my life. 

Soon I would be going home for the Christmas holidays; so I decided to wait un- 
til then about telling my parents. But on the way to Tifton I stopped over in Thom- 
aston to visit with James and Mary and shared this decision with them. They 
didn't show too much enthusiasm, but they registered little or no opposition 
either. From Thomaston I went on to Tifton, and a day or two later my brother and 



42 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

his wife joined us for the Christmas celebration. I waited to tell Mother and Daddy 
until Christmas night, when the noise of the Christmas celebration was over and 
James and Mary had left to return to Thomaston. What I did not know was that 
James had already told Daddy about this decision and warned him to be prepared. 

Though I had not expected Mother and Daddy to be overjoyed by my sense of 
God's call to Japan, I had believed that, at least, they would understand. The in- 
tensity of the opposition that I encountered and its highly charged emotional tone 
took me off guard. Of course, I loved my parents and didn't want to hurt them. And 
I loved God and wanted to do his will. But it seemed to me that an irresistible force 
had met an immovable object and that I was being crushed in between. 

A heavy cloud of despair settled over me, and doubts began to arise in my mind. 
"Perhaps this is my own idea and not the will of God after all," I thought. I knew 
that Kay had not tried to influence my decision, but I knew also that Kay was very 
interested in missions and seemingly committed to a missionary vocation. I won- 
dered if there were any truth to Mother's charge that my decision had been in- 
fluenced by her. 

On the train as I returned to the seminary I met some Northern Baptist (now 
called American Baptist) missionaries to India. They seemed so contented in 
serving the Lord there. I wondered if I would ever get to the mission field. 

Arriving back at the seminary after the Christmas holidays, I tried to study, but 
couldn't concentrate. When I tried to pray, it seemed that my prayers weren't get- 
ting beyond the ceiling. Anxiety had now built up to such a level that I couldn't 
sleep, an experience I had never had before. / simply must have some relief, I 
thought. 

Just at that time the idea occurred to me of talking with Bob Dyer, who had a 
room in the dormitory. He was a missionary to Japan who, along with his wife, had 
spent a number of years in a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines. I 
had never forgotten the talk I had heard him give in Mullins Hall concerning what it 
is like to live day after day with hunger— gnawing, agonizing hunger. Going into 
his room one night, I opened my heart to him and explained the problem. After lis- 
tening very patiently, he said, "Bob, your problem is that you are trying to solve 
this by yourself. You can't do it. It's too big for you. Turn it over to God. If it's 
God's wilHor you to be a missionary, then he'll open the way." 

Many times I had prayed about the problem and had tried to do just that. But 
each time I would try to turn it over to God, I would then snatch it back and try to 
figure out for myself how I was going to solve the problem. However, at that mo- 
ment when we knelt by the bedside, I did turn the problem over to the Lord in a 
simple prayer that went something like this: "0 God, if it is thy will for me to be a 
missionary, then open the door and I will follow where thou dost lead." After pray- 



THE SEMINARY 43 

ing that prayer, I returned to my room and went to bed and fell asleep immedi- 
ately. I slept well that night for the first time since the problem had arisen. I don't 
remember what the weather was like outside when I awoke the next day, but I do 
remember that the sunshine of God's joy and peace flooded my heart. I had 
learned by experience that I could count on the promise found in Philippians 
4:6-7: "In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with 
thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, 
which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in 
Christ Jesus" (ASV). 

If someone had asked me then, "Well, Bob, what are you going to do? Are you 
going to be a missionary?" I doubtless would have answered, "I really don't know 
now. I have turned it over to the Lord. I know he will show me what to do when the 
time comes." This experience freed me from anxiety and enabled me to concen- 
trate on my work in the seminary, which I knew to be God's will for me at that time. 

During the summer of 1946, 1 stayed in Louisville for a clinical training program 
at Kentucky Baptist Hospital under the leadership of Dr. Wayne E. Oates. Others 
in the program at that time included Lynn Elder, Dick Young, and Bill Rhoden- 
hiser. The first two eventually became well-known in the field of pastoral care, 
while Bill Rhodenhiser was to spend his life in the Department of Religion of the 
University of Richmond. We had a full schedule of visiting on the wards, writing up 
verbatim reports of significant interviews, doing assigned reading, and participat- 
ing in the two-hour seminars held several times a week under the able guidance of 
Dr. Oates. Since Dr. Oates was one of the most creative teachers I had studied 
under, I tried to give the course the best I had. One day in class we were dealing 
with one of my interviews when at one point Dr. Oates told me rather sternly that I 
was being too direct. He said I should use the "eye-dropper" approach rather 
than preaching at the patient. Noticing how I bristled at this criticism, he looked at 
me and said, "Now, Bob, I'm not your daddy telling you that you can't be a mis- 
sionary." This comment brought a flash of insight. The transference mechanism 
was at work, and my reaction to Dr. Oates had been colored by my struggle with 
Daddy in relation to the question of being a missionary. 

During my seminary days, the students were divided into various work groups 
according to the field work they did. On missionary days, which were held four to 
six times a year, the students met with their respective work groups to discuss the 
problems they were encountering. At the beginning of the fall term of my third 
year in the seminary, I decided to join the Negro Work Group. This group had 
been founded by Dr. Clarence Jordan during his student days. The question of 
whether I was to become a missionary was still not settled, but, in any case, I felt 
that it would be helpful to work closely with a group of people of a cultural back- 



44 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

ground different from my own. In a sense, for me this was a trial period of mission- 
ary service. 

Arrangements were made for me to work on Sundays with the Centennial Olivet 
Baptist Church in Louisville. I was so thrilled with the pastor and the congregation 
that I decided to move my membership. This was eight years before the historic 
supreme court decision on segregation in the public schools, and complete 
segregation of the races had been the accepted pattern in the South since Lin- 
coln's Emancipation Proclamation. When the request came from the Centennial 
Olivet Baptist Church for my church letter, the pastor of the Immanuel Baptist 
Church in Louisville to which I belonged at the time came to see me and strongly 
urged me not to join that church. He said that the church had never granted a let- 
ter to a Negro Baptist Church before, and he wasn't sure the church would do it. I 
assured him that this was what I wanted to do, and finally the letter was granted. 

Each Sunday I taught a Sunday School class of young people, and from time to 
time I preached. The lively worship, Brother Wilson's dramatic preaching, the 
choir's singing, and the hallelujahs and the amens from the congregation which 
punctuated the sermons— all of these things impressed me deeply. Deeply grate- 
ful for the warmth of the fellowship extended to me, I was disturbed to think that 
our white churches were not yet prepared to receive Negroes in the same way. 

At first I hesitated to tell my parents what I was doing on Sundays. About six 
weeks later, though, I gave a detailed description of the church and my involve- 
ment in it in a very enthusiastic letter home. The letter which came from Dad in re- 
sponse was the hottest one I had ever received. It was not a word of counsel or 
fatherly advice. Rather, it was a command not to go back to that church again. 
Daddy did say, however, that he was only thinking of my good, for he explained 
that I would never be able to get a church in the Southern Baptist Convention if I 
continued to follow the line I was now taking. 

For a day or two I prayed and agonized over my reply. I was deeply grateful to 
my parents for the love and training they had given me and for the opportunities 
they had opened to me. I had often heard my dad speak of me and my brother to 
his friends in our presence and say, "I've never had a moment's trouble out of 
either one of them in my life." My university tuition and most of my support had 
been supplied by them. Even in the seminary, I was not completely independent 
financially. The seminary charged no tuition, while the work I did each day in the 
kitchen supplied most of my daily needs. Nevertheless, Daddy helped me with 
travel expenses and supplied some extras that I enjoyed from time to time. More- 
over, I was mindful that Mother and Daddy were always there if a need should 
arise. 

Still, I felt that an important principle was involved. In their eagerness to protect 



THE SEMINARY 45 

me, they were, consciously or unconsciously, trying to determine the pattern of 
my ministry. Mindful of the importance not only of the content of my letter but of 
the tone of it as well, I answered Daddy in a letter which in essence went some- 
thing like this: 

Dear Daddy, 

Thank you for your letter. I appreciate your concern for me. I am deeply 
grateful to you and Mother for all that you have done for me through the years, 
especially for the training you have provided. You have taught me to love God 
and to seek his will. It is to your credit that you have taught me well. I am no 
longer a child and I am responsible before God for my own decisions. I have 
sought God's will in what I am doing, and I believe that I am following it. I do not 
believe that it would be right for me suddenly to stop going to the Centennial 
Olivet Baptist Church and break the commitments that I have made. 

I feel that I am facing a crisis similar to that which Jesus faced at the begin- 
ning of his ministry. The temptations were three in number, but in essence 
they were one. Should he follow the pattern of messiahship that was expected 
of him or should he follow God's will even though it might disappoint popular 
expectations? The struggle was intense, but he emerged victorious. Rejecting 
the economic, religious, and political approaches to messiahship that were 
suggested to him, he chose the way that was to lead to the cross. I love you 
and Mother and don't want to hurt you, but I believe that God alone should de- 
termine the pattern my ministry will take. 

I have always tried to obey you and have never deliberately disobeyed a 
command you have given. However, I cannot follow in what you are demanding 
now, for I must "obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). Do what you wish. I 
am prepared to pay the consequences of this decision whatever they may be. 

Lots of love, 

Bob 

I waited anxiously for an answer from Daddy, but it never came. He treated the 
whole incident as if it had not occurred. I continued my work at the church. At the 
end of the school year, after completing my year's assignment, I joined the Broad- 
way Baptist Church in Louisville, and no questions were ever asked about what I 
had been doing at the Centennial Olivet Baptist Church. 

There had never been any serious question in my mind about whether I should 
do doctoral work. I had finished college and entered the seminary before my 
twentieth birthday, and I was only twenty-two when I received my B.D. degree (a 



46 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

master's degree in today's terms) in 1947. 1 could afford to take the time. The pas- 
tor who had been most influential in my early days as a Christian, Dr. F. 0. Mixon, 
had his doctorate from Southern Seminary. Perhaps this was one reason I always 
felt from the time I entered the ministry that I would go on and get my doctorate. 
Having had the equivalent of seven years of undergraduate work (four of college 
and three of seminary, taken in six years), I felt that it was time for me really to be- 
gin graduate work. I longed to dig in and do research on my own in areas that in- 
terested me most. 

When I made my application for doctoral study in the spring of 1947, 1 chose bib- 
lical theology as my major field. I had had a summer of clinical training under Dr. 
Oates at Kentucky Baptist Hospital in Louisville, and I was iooking forward that 
summer to studying under him at Kentucky State Mental Hospital in Danville, Ken- 
tucky. Though I found this kind of study very helpful, biblical theology had been 
my first love all along and I was not about to depart from it. I felt that biblical the- 
ology would acquaint me with the whole Bible, and the emphasis would be upon 
the theological ideas, the aspect of biblical studies that fascinated me most. 

At that time I wasn't sure whether I would go to the mission field or enter a pas- 
torate. In either case, however, I felt that a major in biblical theology could not be 
surpassed. In those days a Th.M. degree could either be a terminal degree or a 
step on the way to Th.D. work. I chose the latter course. 

About the time I was to begin my graduate work, I received a shock when Dr. 
Harold W. Tribble, who was to have been my major professor, left Southern to be- 
come President of Andover-Newton Theological Seminary. During my Th.M. year, 
Dr. Dale Moody took over the undergraduate course in biblical theology, and Dr. 
W. 0. Carver was called out of retirement for a year to teach a graduate seminar on 
the Holy Spirit. Though missions was the area of Dr. Carver's specialty, the 
breadth of his scholarship made it possible for him to teach almost anything in the 
curriculum. Dr. Carver taught only one year. From then on Dr. Moody was in full 
control. It didn't take long for me and others majoring in the same field to realize 
that what had seemed a great loss was turning into a great gain. Dr. Moody's 
teaching and leadership in this field were very exciting, and I pursued graduate 
study under his leadership with no regrets. 

Though Dr. Moody always had more material to present than he could possibly 
cover in a class hour, he nevertheless welcomed questions. He presented noth- 
ing of the air of pontifical authority which could not be challenged. Any student 
who challenged him, though, needed to be well-prepared or he would be shot 
down. Fearing that Dr. Moody was too liberal, from time to time some of the stu- 
dents would cite Scripture to attack his position. In answer, Dr. Moody would start 
interpreting the passage to which the student had appealed. Quoting Scripture 



THE SEMINARY 47 

several verses before the passage cited and going on several beyond, he would 
interpret the passage in context. Pointing out the nuances of the Greek, Dr. 
Moody would usually show why the passage would not sustain the weight the stu- 
dent was placing upon it. He would then go on to give several other passages to 
support his position. His classes seldom failed to provoke a lively discussion, and 
many of his most fruitful teaching sessions were held in the halls after class. I am 
deeply indebted to Dr. Moody for the enthusiasm he manifested for theology and 
for the deep concern he so clearly expressed to have it grounded in sound biblical 
exegesis. The stimulus that this devoted Christian scholar gave me and the im- 
print he left upon me will linger with me always. 



6 
Kay 



I met Kathleen (Kay) Sanderson at the beginning of my second year in the 
seminary on my first day back from summer vacation and my experience as asso- 
ciate pastor of the Warner Robins Baptist Church. It was her first day in the WMU 
Training School, which was located across the valley from the seminary. I had just 
come in from a date with another girl, when Bill Rhodenhiser introduced me to 
Kay Sanderson from Richmond, Virginia. At that time Kay had long hair and wore it 
in braids on top of her head. Though I had never liked that hairstyle, there was 
something that I liked about Kay from the start. Was it her radiant smile, her scin- 
tillating personality, or her zest for life? I couldn't say exactly, but I thought then 
that I would like to date her. That was out of the question, because she was Bill's 
girl. Or so I thought. As time passed and I saw her dating other boys, however, I 
decided I might be able to date her. 

The inspiration for my first date came during a Sunday morning worship service 
at a certain church. The pastor of the church couldn't preach a lick even on one of 
his better days, and this definitely was not one of them. My mind began wander- 
ing. It was a beautiful autumn day, and I remembered that the trees in Cherokee 
Park near the seminary campus were turning variegated colors— red, orange, and 
yellow. It was the first time I had seen this phenomenon, because where I came 
from the leaves simply turn brown and fall off. Neither had I seen this the previous 
year in Louisville, because I arrived at the seminary at the beginning of the second 
semester when the trees were already bare. In church that day I determined to 
phone Kay as soon as I could and ask her to go with me that afternoon on a walk in 
the park. To my delight, she accepted the invitation. 

Walking through a sea of color, kicking the fallen leaves with our feet, and 
watching the squirrels scampering up the trees, and the ducks swimming lazily in 
the pond, we talked together about our past experiences and our outlooks on life. 
Before the walk was over I knew that I had found the girl I wanted to marry. 

Gradually, as time passed, I began to find out more and more about Kay. The 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stuart S. Sanderson of Richmond, Virginia, she was the 

48 



KAY 49 

oldest of four children. Stuart Jr., two years younger than Kay, would soon be 
getting out of the Navy and 1 beginning work with his father, a brick contractor. 
There was a gap of ten years between Stuart Jr. and Jimmy and an interval of 
three years between Jimmy and Carolyn, the youngest child. 

Kay talked in detail about Jimmy, who had about eighteen months earlier acci- 
dentally shot himself while playing with his grandfather's 22 rifle. She testified to 
her belief in the power of prayer, saying that God's answer to the prayers of many 
had brought her brother through when the doctors had given up hope for him. 
Completely immobilized for about three months, Jimmy had had to learn to walk 
again. 

Having skipped the third grade, Kay had been graduated from high school at 
fifteen and at nineteen from Westhampton College, which is coordinate with the 
University of Richmond. Before entering the Training School in Louisville, she 
had served a year as a BSU secretary at Mary Washington College in Fredericks- 
burg, Virginia. Mindful that Kay was younger than a good many of the girls with 
whom she would be working at Mary Washington, Mr. James R. Bryant, her 
employer at the Virginia Baptist Board, had advised her: "Don't let your hair 
down." Taking this advice quite literally, Kay had started wearing her hair in 
braids on her head to make herself look as old as possible. Only with a great deal 
of difficulty was I able to restrain myself from telling her that such a need no 
longer existed. However, when one time she had her hair down on a date with me, 
I couldn't compliment her long hairstyle enough. She wore it down from then on, 
and I frequently referred to the girl with the braided hair as her older sister, 
Kathleen. 

It didn't take me long to discern that Kay's feelings for me didn't match mine for 
her. I might have blown it had I not waited for Kay's capacity to receive to keep 
pace with my eagerness to reveal my feelings and intentions. I was able to bide 
my time by applying to this situation the principle enunciated in Jesus' words to 
his disciples, "I have yet many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now" 
(John 16:12). 

As a matter of strategy I made it a point never to end a date with her without get- 
ting a promise for another one. It bothered me, however, the way she rationed 
dates, seldom letting me have more than one a week. Her Sunday work assign- 
ment her first year was at Ormsby Village, a detention home for juvenile delin- 
quents. She took her work there so seriously that she would never go out on 
Saturdays, but insisted on spending each Saturday in preparation for Sunday. 

Kay had entered the Training School to prepare for vocational Christian service 
as a missionary or a student worker, or perhaps as a student worker on the mis- 
sion field. Her year as BSU secretary had excited her about the possibilities of 



50 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

student work. Her sense of "call" to a Christian vocation had come a few years 
earlier, however, as she had worked in Vacation Bible Schools one summer in the 
mountains of southwest Virginia. She had felt a tug at her heart as one junior boy 
who had just made a decision to trust Christ as his Savior came to her with face 
aglow and said: "Whew! It was hard, but I did it!" Summer mission work in New 
Mexico among the Indians in Laguna and with the Spanish-speaking church in 
Taos had confirmed her decision and inclined her toward foreign missions. 

With the coming of my twenty-first birthday in December of 1945, taking note of 
the fact that we were both 21 , we decided to organize the 21 Club. I volunteered to 
be president, and Kay agreed to accept the position of secretary. It turned out that 
some of the most interesting discussions concerning the 21 Club came during 
New Testament class, the one class we had together. Reiji Hoshizaki to my left 
shared a double desk with me, and across the aisle to my right, Eleanor Vereen, 
Kay's roommate, shared a double desk with her. Since the notes that we passed 
back and forth had to go through Eleanor Vereen's hands, we started calling her 
the Vereen Pony Express. Finding a dress pin in the shape of a pony, I presented 
it to Eleanor with the following note: 

In recognition of the service the Vereen Pony Express is rendering to the 21 
Club, I present you with this pony, which you shall bring, ride, or wear to New 
Testament class each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. 

How seriously Eleanor took this responsibility was demonstrated by the fact that 
thereafter she never failed to wear the pin to class. A sample of the messages that 
were passed back and forth by the Vereen Pony Express is as follows: 

[President] How about a meeting of the 21 Club Wednesday night, Mademoi- 
selle Secretary? 

[Secretary] In order for it to be a democratic club a vote must be taken. I will 
abide by the majority vote. 

[President] Culpepper votes aye. The ayes have it, do they not? 

[Secretary] The president can vote only in case of a tie (Robert's Rule of Order, 
p. 102, par. 4). 

[President] The president has the right to call a meeting whenever he feels the 
need (Robert's Rules of Order, p. 102, par. 5). 

The agenda for the 21 Club included cooking breakfast on tin cans in the park, 
attending concerts when I served as usher, an occasional dinner date followed by 



KAY 51 

a movie, and, of course, walks in the park. Later we changed the name to the 21 + 
Club to keep up to date with the passing of time. 

Ours certainly was not a whirlwind courtship, and during that first year when 
things were going so slowly I was cheered by the backing of Kay's Virginia friends 
who were like brothers to her— Bill Rhodenhiser, Julian Pentecost, and Melvin 
Bradshaw. Looking hard for signs of encouragement, I had to find them in little 
things— the fact that she seemed to enjoy the activities of the 21 Club, that she 
gave the name "Pepper" to the stuffed dog that I gave her for her bed at Christ- 
mas, and most of all in the fact that after six months she had said: "I respect you." 
The summer months brought a period of separation, with Kay working in GA 
camps in Virginia and me taking clinical training in Louisville. A lively flow of cor- 
respondence made this period bearable. Things picked up in the fall, and grad- 
ually I began to discern that her feelings for me were beginning to match mine for 
her. 

It was on January 3, 1947, under the lights of the Training School parlor, that I 
proposed to her. I remember quite well the exact words I said: 

There are three things that I want to tell you. First, I think you are the most 
wonderful girl I have ever known. Second, I love you with all my heart, and 
third, I want you to become Mrs. Culpepper. 

Much to my elation she accepted without hesitation, but said that she couldn't get 
married before the end of August the following year. She explained that she had 
already promised Miss Blanche White, WMU Secretary of Virginia, that she would 
serve as Acting Young People's Secretary from the time of her graduation in May 
until the end of the following summer. This was to fill in for Miss Douglas Oliver, 
the regular secretary, who was taking a leave of absence to serve in China. 

The missionary question did not come up. Kay knew that I was undecided, but 
that I was committed to seeking and following God's will. She explained later that 
she believed that since God had led us together he would surely lead in this area 
too. It is to her credit that never at any time in the slightest way did she put any 
pressure on me in this matter. 

Of course, I was disappointed to have to wait so long for the wedding, but the 
big question had been settled. Literally skipping across the valley to the Mullins 
Hall dorm, I sang all the way a ditty called "Zippa Dee Do Dah" from Song of the 
South, a movie which we had seen together. 

Since the day of the wedding was so far off, we decided not to make any public 
announcements about it. Besides, I wanted to do things properly and talk with 
Kay's parents before that. The first opportunity to meet a member of Kay's family 
came when Kay's mother visited the Training School in May to attend her 



52 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

daughter's graduation. The course which Kay had been pursuing for an MRE was 
only a two-year course, and she had now completed it. When I told Mrs. Sander- 
son that I wanted to marry Kay, she readily registered approval. Explaining the 
fact that she was not the least bit surprised, she said: "You see, I know my 
daughter." 

The first opportunity to meet the rest of Kay's family came just before the begin- 
ning of the school year in September when I made my first trip to Virginia. The 
engagement ring that I brought with me had sentimental value, for the little dia- 
mond in it, now in a new setting, had been given as an engagement ring to Mother 
by Daddy. This ring was really burning my pocket, but when I learned that the next 
day we were to leave for a two-day trip to Kay's Uncle Freddie's place on the York 
River, I decided to wait until then for the presentation. 

The York River was about two miles wide at the point where Uncle Freddie had 
his house. After going through the formality of asking Mr. Sanderson for Kay's 
hand in marriage, I led her that first evening out on the pier over the river. The 
moon, about three quarters full but now on the wane, was rising on the horizon, 
leaving an orange streak on the water. The gentle breeze blowing made the 
atmosphere near-perfect. Slipping the ring on her finger, I repeated the three 
things I had told her when I had proposed, and we sealed it all with a kiss. 

The wedding was still almost a year off, and time moved at a snail's pace. 
Finally, the wedding date, August 21, 1948, did come. The site was Kay's home 
church, the Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, and Rev. Cecil C. 
Anderson, the pastor of the church, performed the ceremony. Kay's younger 
brother, Jimmy, was the ring bearer and her sister, Carolyn, the flower girl. Fol- 
lowing a reception at Kay's home, we drove away on our honeymoon to Char- 
lottesville and the Skyline Drive in the 2-door Plymouth sedan Mother and Daddy 
had driven to Richmond. Mother had driven it for about a year, and now she and 
Daddy had presented it to us as a wedding present. 

Upon our wedding night at the dinner table, I presented Kay with a certificate of 
lifetime membership in the 21 + Club. It read as follows: 

This is to certify that Kathleen (Kay) Sanderson Culpepper is a lifetime mem- 
ber of the 21 + Club and by virtue of such membership she is entitled to all the 
rights, privileges and responsibilities appertaining thereto. 

Upon our return to Richmond from our honeymoon, Kay introduced me to vari- 
ous friends who had meant a lot to her. Among them was an Episcopalian rector 
whom she had met when she had been boarding with Miss Daisy Goode and while 
she was serving as acting Young People's secretary. There was a long period of 
silence following the introduction while this gray-haired man in his late seventies 



KAY 53 

glared at me. Then with eyes flashing he gave his first word of greeting as he 
pointed a bony forefinger at me and in a very stern tone said: "Young man, if you 
are not good to this girl, I hope the devil boils you in oil." Many times I have re- 
called those words and wondered if I weren't in danger. 

Flowers that I had ordered greeted Kay when I carried her across the threshold 
of the apartment in Louisville which I had rented and redecorated for her. The 
housing shortage brought on by the war had still not been alleviated. Not able to 
find an apartment on campus, I had rented this upstairs apartment a few blocks 
away from school. Since the rent was still regulated by the wartime Office of Price 
Administration (OPA), we were able to rent it with heat and utilities supplied for 
$35 per month. We had a very small bedroom and another room which was to 
serve as a living room, dining room, kitchen, and study. We were to share the 
refrigerator and the bath with the occupants of the apartment across the hall, 
whoever they might be. 

A short time after we arrived we received a call from Ray Brown at Yale. He had 
received his S.T.M. degree at Yale Divinity School but had decided to return to 
Southern Seminary to do his doctoral work in the field of New Testament. When 
he told me that he needed an apartment, I informed him that the one across the 
hall was open, and he accepted it right away, sight unseen. 

Having been married for two years, Ray and Caralie had spent this time together 
at Yale. Ray had been one of my closest friends my first year in the seminary, and 
Caralie Nelson had come to be a good friend of Kay's through summer camps that 
they had shared together. Ties of friendship already forged were greatly strength- 
ened by the closeness of our living conditions, and these ties have grown 
stronger through the years. 

Since neither apartment had a sink, Ray and I were constantly meeting in the 
bathroom to draw water for washing dishes and then meeting again in the bath- 
room as we poured out the dishwater in the commode. Ray rode to school with me 
every day, while he and Caralie usually joined Kay and me for weekly trips to the 
Laundromat and a shopping center nearby. When Ray and I were together, we 
usually had one topic of conversation— theology. 

For several months I had been serving as pastor of a country church, for which 
service I received $35 each week. Kay supplemented our income with the $90 per 
month she received for part-time services as a B.S.U. secretary for the nurses at 
Kentucky Baptist Hospital, while Caralie supported Ray through full-time work as 
assistant librarian for one of the libraries in the city. Kay's culinary skill surprised 
both of us. Before Christmas my weight rose to over 180 pounds, representing a 
gain of about thirty pounds, which, unfortunately, I have never been able to lose. 

During the early days of my graduate studies, "The Pauline Doctrine of Love" 



54 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

was approved as the title for my doctoral dissertation. Selecting a thesis subject 
early gave me the advantage of being able to make notes in all my reading of any- 
thing related to this subject. Anders Nygren's classic, Agape and Eros, was of 
tremendous help in providing a basic point of view for my study. This thesis made 
little contribution to the world of scholarship, but it made an immeasurable con- 
tribution to my understanding of Paul. Among other books that made the deepest 
impression on me in my study of biblical theology were H. Wheeler Robinson's 
Inspiration and Revelation in the Old Testament, James S. Stewart's A Man in 
Christand T. W. Manson's The Teaching of Jesus. 

After finishing my thesis in February of 1950, 1 was able to concentrate my ener- 
gies on my oral exam scheduled for April 19. Alfred Henry Buchanan, "Buck" as I 
called him, had his oral exam in the same subject scheduled for the next day. We 
studied together a good bit in those days, seeking the skill to verbalize what we 
were learning. The night before the exam I took Kay out for dinner and then to see 
a relaxing movie, Cheaper by the Dozen. The oral exam the next day was a delight- 
ful experience, since it gave me an opportunity to do most of the talking in a two- 
hour discussion of theology. 

In March before our wedding in August, I had been called as pastor of the Buck 
Run Baptist Church at the Forks of Elkhorn. The Forks of Elkhorn is a little farming 
community between Frankfort and Georgetown, Kentucky, at the spot where the 
Elkhorn River forks. Shortly before the church called me there had been a church 
split. According to the way I heard the story, a division developed in the member- 
ship when the pastor, a graduate of an independent Bible school, had started 
berating Southern Baptists. The pastor then led a group of dissident members out 
of the church, and they formed another Baptist church in the community. Those 
who remained within the Buck Run Church were strongly united. So great had 
been their distaste for the former pastor that everything I did was wonderful in 
comparison. 

These simple country folk took me in and loved me, and I loved them in return. 
Later they accorded Kay that same acceptance. The twenty-nine months that I 
served that church were among the happiest of my life. Before my marriage I 
would go to the church field each Saturday by bus and return the same way on 
Monday morning. After our marriage Kay and I would drive the fifty-five miles 
Sunday morning and return Sunday evening. Sometimes we would drive down on 
Saturdays so I would have more time for visiting. 

For the first time in my life I was confronted with the necessity of preaching two 
sermons each Sunday. Now at last I was able to understand why Dr. Mixon never 
was able to give a clear answer when as a high school student I had asked him 
how long it took to prepare a sermon. Sermons are grown, not made. I found that I 



KAY 55 

needed constantly to be thinking ahead, not just for the next week but for the next 
several weeks. In this way I could keep various sermon ideas on the back burner 
and work on them as it seemed their time had come. I also found that preaching in 
series was helpful, not only for me in developing sermons but also for training the 
congregation. 

A course on preaching that I had taken under Dr. J. B. Weatherspoon a couple 
of years earlier proved to be of immeasurable value. Stating that the overall objec- 
tive of preaching is "that they may have life," Dr. Weatherspoon then proceeded 
to outline six subordinate objectives, which indicate six sermon types. Though I 
had never referred to the notes since I took the course, the basic outline was 
indelibly imprinted in my mind. The six sermon types, based on the six sermon 
objectives, are as follows: 1) the evangelistic sermon, which seeks to bring lost 
men to a saving knowledge of Christ; 2) the theological sermon, which aims at 
deepening the theological understanding of the Christian faith; 3) the devotional 
sermon, aimed at building the hearers up Godward; 4) the inspiriting sermon, 
which seeks to strengthen and fortify the listeners for the storms of life; 5) the 
ethical sermon, aimed at deepening the moral and ethical dimensions of the 
Christian life; and 6) the actional sermon, directed toward some desired action, 
such as inspiring greater giving for a building program or for foreign missions. 
Every couple of months, with these sermon types in mind, I would reflect back on 
the sermons I had preached to see if I was supplying the congregation with a bal- 
anced diet. 

Kay and I enjoyed driving out to the church field together. Eating in a different 
home each Sunday enabled us to get close to our members. While I talked with 
the men in the living room, Kay worked with the women in the kitchen before and 
after meals. Her open friendliness and warm sensitivity to the feelings of others 
opened many doors for us. 

Ray and I received our Th.D. degrees together May 5, 1950. Mother and Daddy, 
along with James and Mary, drove up from Georgia to celebrate this occasion with 
Kay and me. Later I learned that they had gone into the bedroom and cried when 
they saw the apartment in which we had been living for two years. While they were 
with us, Kay served them royally. One day some bacon grease in the broiler of the 
stove caught on fire and blazed up rather high. I stood there petrified, while Ray, 
who happened to be with us at the time, called out in desperation, "Get some 
sand! Get some sand!"— an impossibility since we were in a second-story apart- 
ment. Thereupon, Daddy came over and with a typhoon-like blow put out the fire. 
Then, turning to us, he remarked wryly: "I don't even have a college degree, 
much less a doctorate, but I do know how to put out a fire." 

At that time we were anticipating the birth of a baby in June, and all of us were 



56 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

quite excited about it. Little Bonnie Nancye Brown, born to the Browns the pre- 
ceding August, had made us realize how much we wanted a baby. Caralie had 
adjusted her work schedule in the library so that a good part of the time Kay could 
baby-sit for her. 

The doctor had calculated the date of the baby's birth to be June 14. With full 
confidence in the doctor, I had waited patiently until that time, but, when that day 
passed and the baby still hadn't been born, I found that I couldn't concentrate on 
anything else. Anticipating the baby's birth on June 14th, I had promised at the 
church that on Father's Day, June 18, 1 was going to recognize the oldest and the 
youngest father. I fully expected to be the youngest father. I was disappointed, 
however, for our daughter, Cathy Ann Culpepper, was not born until June 24. We 
found that in her arrival date, as in everything else, Cathy had a mind of her own. 
Expecting the baby to be born any day, I had been unable to concentrate on my 
sermons for Sunday. All day Saturday while Kay was in the hospital and until 
about 9:40 that evening when Cathy was bom, I was engrossed in sermon prepa- 
ration. 

The next morning, starting out to go to the hospital before driving to the church, 
I glanced at the headlines of the Louisville morning paper The Courier-Journal: 
"North Korea Reds Invade U.S. -Aided South." The Korean War had begun. 

Three weeks after Cathy's birth we moved out to a little room prepared for us in 
the church. The urgency of our going so soon was that our revival under the 
leadership of Wayne Ward was just beginning. During previous summers Othell 
Hand and John Lewis had led very successful revivals. But this one was the best 
of all. Wayne's warm personality and spirited preaching captured the hearts of the 
people. 

When the revival closed, there were over twenty awaiting baptism. The Elkhorn 
River, which flowed right behind the church, formed a natural baptistry for us. 
Among those who had made decisions were Mr. and Mrs. Berry Hawkins. Berry 
was coming on profession of faith, and his wife, a Methodist, who had been 
sprinkled but not immersed, wanted to join the church with him. Since this 
church, like most churches of the Southern Baptist Convention, required immer- 
sion as the mode of baptism, I urged her to be baptized along with her husband. At 
first she was most reluctant, not seeing the reason for it in the first place and 
being deathly afraid of water besides. So, I began to explain why Baptists gen- 
erally insist that only baptism by immersion is New Testament baptism. Telling 
her that the Greek word used in the New Testament to express baptism signifies 
immersion, I said that New Testament descriptions of baptism indicate immersion 
as the method, for example, "They both went down into the water, Philip and the 
eunuch, and he baptized him" (Acts 8:38, RSV). Most significant of all, I pointed 



KAY 57 

out, immersion alone expresses the basic symbolism of baptism— death and 
resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5). Reluctantly, she agreed to be baptized. 

As I led her out into the deeper water, she said, "Don't drop me," in a stage 
whisper that everyone on the bank could hear. This flustered me. When I got out 
where it was deep enough to baptize and started saying the baptismal formula, I 
forgot her name, and had to pause and ask her, "What's your name?" Then, start- 
ing to baptize her, I put my right foot back to brace myself and stepped into a hole. 
I dropped her and almost baptized myself along with her. 

Shortly after that we resigned Buck Run to begin preparations for going to 
Japan. I often wondered if Mrs. Hawkins is still Baptist! 



7 
Appointment 



The quiet conviction that in the Lord's own good time he would make known his 
will regarding the question of missionary service was not ill-founded. But when 
this leadership came it was not through a sudden revelation or blinding flash of 
light, but through a growing conviction that the call which had come to me Decem- 
ber 12, 1945, was genuine and that it had not been revoked. The clarification came 
so gradually that it is difficult to say exactly when the decision was made. How- 
ever, by the beginning or middle of my last year of graduate work the decision to 
seek appointment as a foreign missionary was rather definite. 

The crisis with Daddy about my participating in the activities of a black church 
was a milestone along the way. A conference with Dr. H. Cornell Goerner, who 
was then professor of missions at the seminary, was also helpful. He urged me 
not to concentrate on the obstacles, but to think positively about the possibilities. 
A conference with Dr. Samuel Maddox, personnel secretary of the Foreign Mis- 
sion Board, was also productive. Indicating to Dr. Maddox that if I should go to 
Japan I felt I could make my best contribution by teaching theology in the semi- 
nary, I asked him what he thought the chances were of such an opportunity open- 
ing for me. He replied that he thought the possibilities were rather good, but that 
he could give no assurance about it because in Japan invitations of this kind 
would have to come from the national body. 

The decisive factors in the decision, however, were prayer and a devotional 
study of God's Word. Again and again, I read Ephesians 6:1 : "Children, obey your 
parents in the Lord, for this is right" (RSV). Always when I would read these 
words, however, Peter's ringing declaration in Acts 5:29, "We must obey God 
rather than men," would come to mind. Over and over, I read and meditated on 
Jesus' words in Matthew 10:37-39: 

He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who 
loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; he who does not take 
his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, 
and he who loses his life for my sake will find it (RSV). 

58 



APPOINTMENT 59 

I began to see clearly that God had called me to preach the gospel, the very center 
of which is the cross, but that if I were unwilling to accept the cross in my own life, 
then I would have no gospel to preach. 

Still, I chose not to bring the issue into the foreground until I had turned in my 
thesis and taken my oral exam. Expecting to have to fight another bout with 
Mother and Daddy over the issue, I did not feel that I had the emotional strength to 
do this and complete my graduate work at the same time. However, shortly after I 
received word that my thesis had been accepted and that I had passed my oral 
exam, I wrote the Foreign Mission Board indicating that Kay and I were ready to 
begin the procedure leading to appointment by the Board. 

When my parents came to Louisville to see me receive the Th.D. degree, they 
naturally asked what we were planning to do. Much to my surprise, they took it 
rather calmly when I replied that we were in conversation with the Foreign Mission 
Board about appointment to Japan. Their attitude was one of resignation. Unable 
to rejoice in the decision, they, at least, did not oppose it, but quietly said: "The 
will of the Lord be done." 

My impression is that appointment procedures in those days were not as com- 
plicated as they are now. Nevertheless, there were application forms to be filled 
out, life histories to be written, and references for recommendations to be sug- 
gested. By mid-summer the Board indicated that everything was in order, and it 
set the Board meeting in October as the time we should go to Richmond, receive 
our physical and psychiatric exams, be questioned by board members, and, if all 
went well, be appointed. 

Mindful that we had spent relatively little time with our families since our mar- 
riage, and that once in Japan it would be a long time before we would see them 
again, we decided that we should set aside ample time for this before appoint- 
ment. Our thinking was that once we were appointed the timing would be out of 
our control and that we should be ready to leave whenever the Board should 
direct. With these factors in consideration, I announced my resignation as Pastor 
of the Buck Run Baptist Church shortly after the baptismal service that followed 
the revival by Wayne Ward, and we left three or four weeks later. 

Breaking the ties with the people of this dear church wasn't easy. I felt that they 
had ministered to us far beyond our capacity to minister to them. Their love had 
sustained and encouraged us, and the Lord had blessed the church during our 
stay by adding a considerable number of new converts. One church member tear- 
fully said, "Why we just got Cathy. Now we won't even get to see her learn to 
walk." 

After several enjoyable weeks with my parents in Tifton, we headed for Rich- 
mond to visit with Kay's folks and to seek appointment by the Foreign Mission 



60 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Board. The physical and psychiatric exams, orientation procedures, and the 
appointment service altogether took only about four days. 

At that time the Foreign Mission Board was pushing appointments to Japan. 
Two or three years earlier an initial goal of one hundred missionaries for Japan 
had been set, and the Board was well on the way toward meeting that goal. Only a 
couple of months earlier twenty-seven new missionaries to Japan had arrived in 
Yokohama on the same ship. 

Most of Kay's family were present at the appointment service at the headquar- 
ters of the Foreign Mission Board, Thursday night, October 12, 1950. Rev. and 
Mrs. Reuben Boyd Robertson, of Carrolton, Texas, were the only other mission- 
aries appointed along with us. Dr. Frank Laubach, retired Presbyterian missionary 
to the Philippines and world-renowned leader of the literacy movement, brought 
the missionary address. After the appointment service, I asked him, "Have you 
introduced your 'each one teach one' method to Japan?" 

"Japan doesn't need it," he answered. "The Japanese are the most literate 
people in the world." 

"I know they are," I answered, "but I'm illiterate in Japanese." 

The conference which we had with Dr. Rankin, executive secretary of the 
Board, following our being approved for appointment, was quite memorable. 

"What means of support do you have?" Dr. Rankin inquired. 

"None," I answered. "We resigned our church in August." 

"What? Resigned your church and you hadn't even been appointed?" He 
paused a moment and then said, "Well, I guess we had better put you on salary 
right away." 

I could detect in his words the feeling that we were quite presumptuous in 
assuming that we were definitely going to be appointed. I suppose we were rather 
naive in the matter. My attitude was quite simple: "God has called us; the Foreign 
Mission Board says that it wants missionaries for Japan; we have tried to prepare 
ourselves for service; here we are." My sense of God's leadership in the matter 
was so strong that it had never really occurred to me that we might not be ap- 
pointed. 

The following days were quite busy ones with shopping to be done, immuniza- 
tion shots to be received, and red tape for receiving a passport and military per- 
mission to enter Japan to be taken care of. 

Before leaving Louisville, we had sold our furniture, lock, stock and barrel, to a 
seminary student for $70. My books and seminary notes, along with a Philco radio- 
record player we had bought the first Christmas after we were married, were put 
in storage to be sent to Japan when we received our instructions. Most welcome 
was the outfit allowance of $900 which we received from the Board. With this 



APPOINTMENT 61 

money we purchased a refrigerator, a heating stove, a hide-a-bed, and a mattress 
with box springs. In addition to these items, we bought clothing for all the family, 
blankets, sheets, and towels, along with various small household items that might 
be necessary. With all of these purchases we exceeded considerably the outfit 
allowance supplied by the Board, but we were able to take care of the excess with 
some to spare through the sale of our car. 

Now immobile, as far as automobile transportation was concerned, we made 
the trip from Richmond, Virginia, to Tifton, Georgia, by train. Stopping off for two 
days in Wadesboro, North Carolina, we visited the Wadesboro Baptist Church 
which wanted to sponsor us as their missionaries. The train schedules were far 
from ideal, since we arrived there one morning at 1 :30 and left two days later at the 
same hour. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Allen, who were our hosts for this period, met the 
train and took us to their home, where a heating pad already had Cathy's bed 
warm. She gave a gentle sigh and went right on back to sleep. We were deeply 
grateful for the warm hospitality of this church, and especially of the Aliens, who 
have been among our closest friends since that time. The warm friendliness, love 
for missions, and sincere devotion to our Lord of these dear iaypersons have 
warmed our hearts again and again. 

Shortly after arriving in Georgia in mid-November, we attended the Georgia 
Baptist Convention in Savannah with Mother and Daddy. Kay and I had been asked 
to give our testimonies on the Foreign Mission program, before Dr. Frank K. 
Means, secretary of education and promotion for the Board, gave the missionary 
address. My testimony was a simple, straightforward statement concerning my 
call to Japan, which discreetly left out the part about the opposition of my parents. 
Kay's testimony brought a strong expression of appreciation from many, particu- 
larly Mr. John J. Hurt, Jr., editor of The Christian Index, the state paper of Georgia 
Baptists. A poem scribbled originally on the back of some hotel stationery, Kay's 
testimony appeared a few days later on the editorial page of The Christian Index. 

Out in the mountains of my native state 

The very first step in the plan did take place; 

As a seventeen-year-old during vacation from school, 

I was teaching with young girls in a Vacation Bible School. 

Thirty junior boys were under my care 

Which called for much preparation and prayer. 

At the end of two weeks when decision day came 

"Jesus as Saviour" many did proclaim. 

But the words from one little ten-year-old 

Brought more joy to me than riches or gold. 

"Whew, it was hard, but I did it," he said 



62 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

After the struggle and decision was made. 

Seeing the happiness shining in his face 

Made me want the old story told to every race. 

God's plan became clearer as I heard of the need 

From our missionaries themselves. They planted a seed. 

Service one summer in a far western state 

Helped me to know again that the needs were great. 

As an old Indian woman thanked me in her native tongue 

For reading God's word, I knew many must be so won. 

But still one decision remained to be made; 

Where will you serve? On my heart this was laid. 

Then one night when four of us joined in prayer 

To petition for others to meet the world's care 

The answer came through— 

You pray for others, but what about you? 

Then God's plan did I see 

And I answered, "Here am I, Lord, send me." 

Early in December we received the following telegram from the state depart- 
ment in Washington. 

HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED MILITARY PERMISSION FOR YOU AND YOUR 
FAMILY TO ENTER JAPAN STOP CAN GIVE NO ASSURANCE THAT SUCH 
PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED BEFORE THE TIME OF YOUR PROPOSED 
DEPARTURE DECEMBER 20 STOP 

Since Japan was an occupied country, not a regular visa from the Japanese gov- 
ernment but a military permit from SCAP (Supreme Commander for the Allied 
Powers), General Douglas A. MacArthur, was necessary before we could sail. 

Why hadn't it come through? Was it related to the Korean War? we wondered. 
The war had now entered a critical phase. The Inchon landing of September 15, 
1950, executed with split-second timing under General MacArthur's personal 
direction, was later to be regarded as one of the most brilliant operations in the 
annals of military history. The Allied forces were pushing the North Koreans back 
on all fronts, and there was talk of having the military home by Christmas. All of 
this changed suddenly when, in the latter part of October, troops from Communist 
China joined the North Koreans in the war. Mounting a massive offensive in the 
Northwest on November 2, the Communist Chinese and the North Koreans 
together began pushing the Allied forces off the peninsula. When we received 
this telegram from the State Department a rescue operation to evacuate some of 
the Allied forces had already begun. We wondered if the content of the telegram 
was related to the war situation in Korea. 



APPOINTMENT 63 

Immediately I called the Foreign Mission Board and read the telegram. The 
Board promised to do what it could. Later I learned that the Board relayed the 
message to Edwin Dozier in Japan, and he contacted the occupation authorities. 
At any rate, for us at that time there was nothing to do but wait and pray. 

Since we were scheduled to leave Tifton by train for San Francisco on Thursday, 
December 14, I had been asked to preach a farewell sermon for that occasion 
in my home church the preceding Sunday. James and Mary came down from 
Thomaston to share that time with us. In connection with their visit, we celebrated 
Christmas together as a family about two weeks early. The irony of it all was that 
we weren't sure we were really leaving, for we knew we couldn't go without a mili- 
tary permit. In my imagination I could see us sitting around Tifton for weeks, or 
even months, and hear the people ask, "What? Are you still here? We thought you 
were going to Japan." Nevertheless, we made our preparations just as if all sig- 
nals were green. 

On December 12, 1950, exactly five years to the day from the time I had received 
the missionary call, a phone call from the Mission Board informed us that our mili- 
tary permit had been granted. Our passport with the military permit and our steam- 
ship tickets would be waiting for us at the office of the American President Lines 
in San Francisco, we were told. 

Mother and Daddy helped us with the last-minute packing, and then Daddy pre- 
sented us with a gallon of shelled pecans. As a labor of love, he had shelled them 
for us himself. The pastor and his wife were at the station the next morning a little 
before noon to see us off. Mother and Daddy struggled valiantly to hold back the 
tears as we said our goodbyes and the train pulled out. They had come to love Kay 
dearly. Mother said again and again that she had the sweetest disposition of any 
girl she had ever known. It was hard to see us go, but hardest of all to part with 
Cathy. Shortly before Cathy's birth, Daddy had written a special letter to Kay con- 
taining these words: "May the little life that you usher into your home and hearts 
become an unceasing source of joy to you both; and may it be as fine in character, 
as noble in spirit, as pure in ideals, as its mother and father have been before it." 
Now this granddaughter, the only grandchild my parents had, not quite six- 
months old, was leaving, not to return until she would be ready to enter school. 

The cross-country trip by train took a little over three days. The compartment 
the Mission Board provided for us made us comfortable during the trip, and 
Roland Bainton's classic biography of Martin Luther, Here I Stand, presented to 
us by the Aliens from Wadesboro, was to provide us with enjoyable reading. Since 
this was my first trip west of the Mississippi, I was determined not to miss any- 
thing in the way of scenery. The most spectacular part came Sunday about noon 
as we crossed the snow-capped Sierra-Nevada mountains of eastern California. 

At the Stewart Hotel in San Francisco, we met Leslie and Hazel Watson, who 



64 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

had been appointed to Japan a month before us and were traveling to Japan with 
us. Their daughter, Beth, was about five months older than our Cathy. How nice it 
was to share this experience with this family that we came to love on this trip and 
who have become dearer to us through the years! 

It was quite cloudy and foggy that Wednesday morning as our taxis drove us to 
the harbor and we got our first view of the President Cleveland, the 600-foot ocean 
liner that was to take us to Japan. Excitedly, we rushed to our cabin on C Deck, 
just above the water line, and then back to the Promenade Deck to rent deck 
chairs for the long voyage. "All ashore who are going ashore" came the call over 
the ship's speaker system. Within a few minutes the last visitor had returned to 
the dock and the gangplank was raised. The passengers crowded the rails to 
throw streamers to those standing on the dock below. These shimmering pieces 
of paper were the last connection with the shore. The ship's horn blew, and the 
President Cleveland began to leave the dock precisely at twelve noon. Within a 
few minutes we were in San Francisco Bay, and the ship began to operate on its 
own power, allowing the tug boats that had pulled us out to return to port. By now 
the clouds had lifted, revealing a gorgeous, blue sky. Standing on the deck, we 
snapped pictures excitedly as the President Cleveland passed under the San 
Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and sailed by the island of Alcatraz and under the 
Golden Gate Bridge. Could it really be that we were off to Japan at last? No, the 
next stop was Los Angeles, we had just heard. It was not until Friday, December 
22, that we were really on our way. 

Traveling aboard a luxury ocean liner was a delightful vacation in itself. In fact, 
this particular voyage, which covered both Christmas Day and New Year's Day, 
was designated the Holiday Cruise. For this reason, unlike most voyages of the 
President liners, it boasted a chaplain for each of the Protestant, Catholic, and 
Jewish faiths. Christmas morning, Santa Claus, who was said to have arrived by 
helicopter, made his appearance and gave out toys to all the children. 

Since the ship took the southern route, it was pleasantly warm most of the way. 
A day or so before we reached Honolulu the ship's pool was filled, and we en- 
joyed swimming. 

Arriving in Honolulu at 8:00 AM December 27, we watched the sun rising over 
the city's famous landmark, beautiful Diamondhead. Swimmers diving for any 
coins tossed to them were out in the water as we neared the port. On the shore 
hula dancers swayed to the rhythm of a tune I had known only through B. B. 
McKinney's hymn, "He Lives on High." 

Met by some of our Southern Baptist missionaries to Hawaii, we were taken on 
a tour of the Honolulu area. Waikiki beach, the Punch Bowl Cemetery, the famous 
Pali Pass, the botanical gardens, the Olivet Baptist Church and the Nuuanu Bap- 



APPOINTMENT 65 

tist Church were on the tour. A highlight of our trip was getting to meet Mrs. 
Maude B. Dozier, whom we came to know affectionately as Mother Dozier. The 
wife of C. K. Dozier (the founder of Seinan Gakuin, our Baptist school in Fukuoka), 
she had served many years in Japan, where her son Edwin and his family were at 
that time. It was obvious that she wanted to make the trip with us. 

Leaving Honolulu that night, we were thrilled to think that the next stop would 
be Yokohama, Japan. The ship was relatively empty for the rest of the trip, for well 
over half the passengers had left ship in Honolulu. The reason doubtless was that 
they wanted to spend a pleasant holiday season in Hawaii. Also, however, most 
people seemed to feel that it wasn't safe to travel to the Orient at this time. The 
ship's daily news bulletin carried the teletype news of literally tens of thousands 
of United Nations' troops being evacuated from Korea. The purser kept asking, 
"Why are you going? We are just going to have to bring you back in a little while." 
Try as we might, we couldn't make him understand that our traveling orders had 
come from a higher power. 

On New Year's Eve, a small group of us, along with the Protestant chaplain and 
his wife, enjoyed a watch-night prayer service. Passengers on other ships may 
have greeted the new year at the same time we did, but nowhere in the world did 
anyone celebrate it earlier, for we had just crossed the International Date Line and 
the ship's clocks had not been set back since then. 

Walking along the Promenade Deck, pushing Cathy in her stroller, conversing 
with others as we sat in our lounge chairs, and engaging in pleasant conversation 
as we feasted on sumptuous meals in the dining room, we enjoyed our voyage to 
the fullest. The nearer we came to Japan the more our excitement mounted. The 
voyage became rougher day by day until only a day out of Yokohama the ship was 
tossing so that the bow would dip down and a wave of ocean spray would go back 
several hundred feet over the deck. When the bow was down the stern would be 
out of the water, and the ship would shudder all over as the propeller fell back into 
the water. After the sayonara (farewell) banquet on Thursday night we could 
hardly go to sleep. The next morning we would get our first glimpse of Japan. 



8 
Japan at Last 



We were hoping for good weather for our arrival in Japan, for we had been told 
that on a clear day when there is a minimum of smog Mount Fuji can be seen from 
Yokohama Bay. But when we awoke Friday morning, January 5, heavy clouds 
hung overhead and a light rain was falling. Here and there we could see small 
islands, some of the two thousand that make up the island chain of Japan. By far 
the larger part of Japan, however, consists of four main islands which extend in 
latitudes corresponding to Canada and the New England states in the north and to 
southern Alabama in the South. 

When we finished breakfast we noticed that the ship's engines had stopped, 
and we were taking on board port officials for a routine check of the ship's pas- 
sengers. A line had formed in the lounge and immunization papers, passports, 
and military permits were being checked. By the time we finished this procedure, 
the ship was already tied up at the dock. Joining the crowd at the ship's rails, we 
searched for anyone on the dock we might know. And there below we saw clus- 
tered together a group of missionaries waving at us excitedly, and, overjoyed, we 
waved back. Immediately we recognized among them John Shepard, Melvin Brad- 
shaw, and Reiji Hoshizaki. In a little while we were off the ship greeting these old 
friends and meeting some new ones. Among those we met were Loyce Nelson, a 
tall, lanky, red-headed missionary from Arkansas, and Stan Howard, a jovial fellow 
from Texas. 

We soon learned that until we could get settled in a house to ourselves our fam- 
ily would be staying with the Howards, while the Watson family would be with the 
Doziers. We were told that our hold baggage (trunks) and freight (furniture and 
appliances) would be sent to us later when we were settled. Our missionary 
friends helped us load the baggage from the cabin into the station wagon driven 
by Stan Howard, and we were off for Tamagawa, a neighborhood section of Tokyo, 
where the Stan Howard, Tucker Callaway, and Fred Horton families lived. 

Automobiles were running on the wrong side of the road, or so it seemed to us. 
There were trucks, buses, and taxis on the road, but relatively few private cars. 

66 



JAPAN AT LAST 67 

The houses and buildings we saw along the way looked colorless and drab. Was 
this really beautiful Japan that we had heard so much about and had seen en- 
chantingly depicted in beautiful color photographs? 

The streets narrowed as we came to the Tamagawa area. Hardly wide enough to 
accommodate one-way traffic, these streets were clogged with vehicles and 
pedestrians going in all directions. When we asked Stan about the big gashes in 
the wooden electric poles on both sides of the street, he explained that truck 
drivers had hacked up the poles to make it easier for their vehicles to pass 
through the narrow streets. Since there were no sidewalks, pedestrians filled the 
streets, completely unperturbed by the vehicles of various sorts passing through. 
Keeping his hand on the horn and using the brakes only a bare minimum, Stan 
maneuvered this obstacle course with a speed and dexterity which kept us both 
scared stiff and utterly amazed. Soon we arrived at the Howards' house and met 
Pat, Stan's attractive young wife. The Howards, who had been in Japan about a 
year, had no children at this time, but their daughter, Linda, was born a few 
months later. 

We had arrived in Japan during the New Year season. The most important fes- 
tival of the year, the New Year season gave nearly everyone a joyous vacation 
period. Most of the shops and stores that had been closed the first three days of 
the year were now open, but the schools and many places of business were still 
closed. Families were out together, all the people dressed in their finest clothes 
and obviously enjoying the holiday season. As they would meet someone they 
knew, they would bow very politely and exchange New Year's greetings. While 
most of the men and boys were dressed western style, many of the ladies and 
young girls were decked out in kimonos. The colors of these were rather subdued 
for the middle-aged and older ladies but much brighter for the younger ladies and 
little girls. A good many of the younger ladies were wearing large, attractive wigs, 
elaborately coiffured. Not realizing at first that these were wigs and that the 
kimonos were just for the New Year season, I was disappointed when they soon 
disappeared. 

Saturday the Howards drove us to the Nishi-Okubo compound, where twelve 
missionary families were living while in language school. At several places en- 
route we saw large crowds gathered around firemen in red and black costumes 
doing acrobatics on top of tall bamboo ladders, a special feature of the New 
Year season. Saturday's big treat for the Howards, Watsons, and Culpeppers 
was the evening meal at the home of Edwin and Mary Ellen Dozier. Born in Japan 
of missionary parents, C. K. and Maude Burke Dozier, and raised there, Edwin 
spoke Japanese like the nationals. The first Southern Baptist missionary to return 
to Japan after the war, Edwin, through his historic trip, had helped prepare the 



68 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

way for the rest of us. The Doziers lived in a rather large, Japanese-style house 
next door to the building that housed the Baptist convention and mission head- 
quarters, the convention-related Jordan Press, and the Keisen Baptist Church. At 
that time Edwin was mission treasurer, the president of Jordan Press, and pastor 
of the Keisen Church, a thriving church which he and Mary Ellen had helped start 
about a year before. 

That night Edwin and Mary Ellen along with their three children— Sarah Ellen, 
Charles, and Adelia Ann— introduced the Watsons and the Culpeppers to suki- 
yaki, a delicious Japanese dish. Seated on cushions laid on the straw-mat floor, 
we encircled two charcoal braziers in groups of five and six. Edwin did the cooking 
for one group and Mary Ellen for the other. First, the skillet was greased with beef 
fat. Then strips of beef sliced thin, like bacon, were put in the skillet and covered 
with sugar and soy sauce. After allowing the meat to cook a short while, our hosts 
for the evening began putting in the vegetables— green onions, spinach, bean 
sprouts, bamboo shoots, soy bean curd, and shirataki, a shredded gelatinous 
vegetable. The aroma of the food cooking in front of us aroused our appetites. A 
number of things were new to me that evening— sitting cross-legged on the floor, 
using chop sticks, and eating Japanese-style food. 

After the blessing we imitated the Doziers in breaking a raw egg into a small 
bowl and stirring it with our chopsticks. Then with the chopsticks they had been 
using for the cooking, they began to put food into our bowls which contained the 
raw eggs, and we began to eat. The raw egg idea had been repulsive to me, but I 
was determined to eat sukiyaki properly, raw egg and all. To my surprise I found 
the dish very delicious. The raw egg seemed to enhance the flavor. We were 
grateful to be in Japan and to have the opportunity of fellowship with these vet- 
eran missionaries. Throughout the evening we kept firing questions at the Doziers 
about things which we had seen and felt, about the work they were doing, and the 
overall Christian witness in Japan. 

The next day we attended Sunday services at the Oi Machi Baptist Church with 
the Howards. We met the pastor, Kenji Otani, and other Japanese Christians 
whose names were difficult for me to remember, for I had nothing with which I 
could associate them. Sitting there all through the service in a mental fog because 
I didn't understand a word being said, I wondered if I would ever learn to use this 
language. Hearing Stan and Pat sing the hymns with gusto gave me some hope. 
However, this was soon disappointed when they told me that they were merely 
following the Japanese phonetic symbols and singing the sounds, but that they 
didn't understand the words. 

About three o'clock Monday morning we were jolted awake and startled to see 
Cathy's baby bed sliding across the floor. Since the whole house was vibrating 



JAPAN AT LAST 69 

rather violently, no one needed to tell us what was happening. We were experi- 
encing our first earthquake. Fortunately, the earthquake did little damage, though 
it was reported as the strongest one since the war. 

Startling as the earthquake was, it was not nearly so earthshaking to me as what 
happened later that morning, my first day in language school. A new term was 
beginning that day, January 8. Since we were not yet settled and we had a six- 
month-old baby, Kay was unable to attend with me. This morning in language 
school was one of the most miserable three-hour periods of my life. For three 
one-hour periods not a word of English was spoken. Everything was in Japanese. 
While everybody else seemed to understand what was going on, I sat there in a 
fog a large part of the time. Am I mentally retarded? I wondered. What I did not 
realize then was that everybody else in the class had received the language books 
in advance and had had an opportunity for some preparation. On the way home I 
made a solemn resolution. With God's help, never again would I go into a lan- 
guage class unprepared. To the best of my ability I kept that resolution. Many 
times later I was not adequately prepared, but never again was I totally unpre- 
pared. 

Soon after we arrived in Japan we discovered that the missionaries in Tokyo 
responsible for our logistics were not aware that two families instead of one were 
on the way until our ship was halfway across the Pacific. Upstairs over the Jordan 
Press there was an apartment available for one family. Where would the other 
family be placed? Apprised of the situation, Missionary Ernest Hollaway started 
scouting around and found an apartment unit available in a Lutheran duplex, only 
a twenty-minute walk from the Nishi-Okubo compound. It was decided by the mis- 
sionaries in the Tokyo area that the family moving into the Lutheran apartment 
would move to the Nishi-Okubo compound in April as soon as a house became 
available there, while the family in the apartment near the Doziers would continue 
to live there above Jordan Press. We drew straws with the Watsons to determine 
who should live where, and in this way it was decided that we should live in the 
Lutheran apartment for three months. 

All of our hold baggage and freight arrived in good condition, and we moved into 
the Lutheran apartment a week after our arrival in Japan. Since we had only a mini- 
mum of furniture and household goods to arrange, we were soon settled. My 
notes and books that were being sent from Louisville had not arrived. In February 
we received word that the ship carrying these things had struck a coral reef off 
Hawaii and 90 percent of the cargo was under water. Much to our surprise and 
great joy, however, in April everything arrived safely. Apparently our freight had 
been in the undamaged 10 percent. 

Soon we became aware of the inconvenience of living in a foreign land. Regis- 



70 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

tering at the ward office, we received alien registration cards, which we were 
instructed to keep with us at all times. Arrangements had to be made about a 
driver's license for me and for banking for the two of us. Cashing a yen check 
would always take twenty to thirty minutes. We would sit in utter amazement 
watching the check pass from one hand to another and finally back to the first 
teller who would give us the money. 

Shopping was also quite time-consuming. The first missionaries to return to 
Japan after the war had been required to bring a ton of food with them. Now, 
though, no such need existed, for food was available on the Japanese market. We 
could buy beef, pork, chicken, and fish, but the chicken and pork tasted like fish, 
because the hogs and chickens were fed fish scraps. Vegetables were limited 
largely to cabbage, spinach, carrots, and potatoes, except for a few Japanese 
vegetables which were unfamiliar to us. To add variety to our diet we shopped in 
various special stores in town for American foods like powdered milk, baby food, 
cereals, cake mixes, Jello and the like. Shopping trips made about once a week 
usually took most of an afternoon, for the stores where we shopped were widely 
scattered. In some stores we used yen, in others dollar checks, and in others' 
convertible yen checks, checks computed in yen but readily convertible into 
dollars. 

Before our arrival the Baptist missionaries in Tokyo had adopted a policy of 
dispersing to the various churches in the city, rather than clustering together in a 
few more convenient ones. In line with this policy it was soon decided that I 
should go to the Shinkoiwa Baptist Church on the outskirts of the city. Using the 
city's efficient electric railway system and transferring three times, I was able to 
get to the Shinkoiwa Church in a little over an hour. 

Here again, as in the matter of language school, Kay was left out. The railway 
cars were unheated and so were the churches. We couldn't take a six-month-old 
baby on crowded, unheated trains in the dead of winter to stay in an unheated 
church building. To give a semblance of heat, the Japanese used a hibachi, 
usually a large porcelain or brass pot with a few pieces of charcoal kept burning 
on ashes. Since the hibachi was totally inadequate to heat a room, much less a 
church building, anyone who went to church had to endure sitting in a cold build- 
ing. This was not too much of a hardship for the Japanese people, because they 
had little heat in their homes. For us missionaries, though, lack of heat in the 
churches posed a problem, since we normally kept at least one room reasonably 
warm. 

In a land of high humidity with temperatures ranging from the low twenties to 
the low forties in the heart of winter, I gave much attention that first winter to the 
problem of trying to stay warm. There was a little coal stove in the basement room 



JAPAN AT LAST 71 

of the church building used by the language school, but it was quite inadequate 
on cold days. Wearing fleece-lined boots and three pairs of wool socks, I still 
couldn't keep my feet warm. I soon burned the bottoms out of my socks by hold- 
ing them too close to the stove during the breaks between classes. Later I dis- 
covered that part of the problem was that those three pairs of socks were cutting 
off the circulation in my feet. 

Kay spent a lonely period those first three months. Just how lonely it was for 
her I didn't realize fully until we had moved to Nishi-Okubo. Five days a week I 
would be at language school with Kay left behind to take care of Cathy. Not know- 
ing any Japanese and not having any friends nearby, Kay had to get along the best 
she could by herself. Every day she would put Cathy in her stroller and go out 
shopping on the local market. Not knowing the prices of anything she was buying, 
she would start dishing out money until the shopkeeper would wave his hands to 
indicate that it was enough. Fortunately, the Japanese people as a whole are very 
honest, and, to my knowledge, no one ever took advantage of her. Becoming pro- 
ficient in an improvised sign language, Kay was able to learn that the man who 
came to install our stove had a boy and a girl and what their ages were. 

Sunday was for Kay the loneliest day of the week. Usually on Sundays I was 
away at church all day, not returning until about ten or eleven at night. She began 
to wonder: What kind of a missionary am I? Is this what I came to Japan for? I'm not 
learning the language. Why I don 't even go to church! Later on, when the weather 
got better, she was able to take Cathy and go with some other missionary ladies 
and their children to English services at the Chapel Center. 

Vivid impressions of the conditions of Japan that first year still linger in my 
mind. Most of the streets had no sidewalks, and the shopkeepers displayed their 
goods on the sides of the narrow streets. Many of the men, particularly the univer- 
sity students, trudged around in wooden clogs instead of shoes. On rainy days 
they wore extra high ones to keep their feet out of the water. One seldom saw any 
dogs or birds, because the Japanese had eaten most of these during the war 
years. I don't remember seeing any fat people those days. The economic condi- 
tion of the people didn't allow them the luxury of overeating. 

Few of the public buildings had central heating, and none of them had air condi- 
tioning. Most of the families had radios, but there was no television in Japan at 
that time. Few homes had washing machines, and almost none had refrigerators. 
Housewives usually shopped separately for each meal except breakfast. Many of 
them did their shopping with a baby strapped to their backs, while they led larger 
children by the hand. Most Japanese families did their cooking on charcoal 
braziers, one or two to a family, though some families already used natural gas 
burners. 



72 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

The streets were full of bicycles and motorcycles with truck bodies. Many of the 
bicycles had carts attached and pulled heavy loads of various kinds of goods. 
Parking lots were not needed, for one could always find a parking place, even in 
front of one of the largest department stores on the Ginza, Tokyo's busiest street. 

Taxis and buses were still using charcoal for fuel instead of gasoline. Since the 
charcoal provided relatively little power, the drivers were always having to stop to 
fan the flames. We missionaries used to say jokingly in those days that the buses 
sold first-, second-, and third-class tickets. Whenever the bus went up a hill, first- 
class passengers were allowed to stay on the bus, but second-class passengers 
had to get out and walk, while third-class passengers had to get out and push. 

Everywhere we saw people, people, thousands of people. To cross the street in 
Shinjuku, one of the busiest sections of Tokyo, was to find oneself engulfed in a 
sea of people comparable to the crowd in America emptying a stadium after a big 
bowl game. It seemed that to go almost anywhere by electric railway we had to go 
through Shinjuku. Here at the rush hours there were station employees on each 
platform shoving the passengers onto the already overcrowded trains. Packed 
together like sardines, the passengers, particularly the shorter ones, hardly had 
breathing room. 

Crowding also extended to living conditions. Large areas of Tokyo had been 
razed by fire bombs. Though most of the rubble had been cleaned up, with only a 
few foundations of buildings destroyed during the war visible here and there, the 
supply of houses fell far short of the need. Moreover, it was typical of the 
Japanese style of life in those days for three or four generations of a family to live 
together under one roof. The custom of a son bringing his young bride home with 
him to serve his mother like a maid was generally accepted. The senior adults also 
were never left to themselves but were an important part of these extended fam- 
ilies. 

People, people, people everywhere— people whom Christ loves, for whom he 
died, most of whom did not know him! At that time only one Japanese in about two 
hundred made any claim of being a Christian. The ratio was a little higher in the 
cities, but, even so, it would have been difficult to find one Christian in a hundred. 
It was to share the good news of God's salvation in Jesus Christ with these people 
that we had come to Japan. 

Being a country without a Judeo-Christian heritage, Japan had no sabbath or 
Lord's Day. Schools and government offices were closed on Sundays, and a good 
many white collar workers had Sundays off. However, for barbers, department 
store workers, and shopkeepers it was the biggest day of the week. Factory 
workers, construction workers, mailmen, and many office employees went to 
work on Sunday as usual. 



JAPAN AT LAST 73 

Riding the densha (electric train) to and from church, I often saw women in 
baggy work clothes bearing heavy burdens on their backs. Once on the densha, 
they lowered their burdens to the floor. What kinds of burdens are they bearing in 
their hearts? I wondered. Do they know anyone who could take these burdens 
away? Do they know the One who invites, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and 
are hea vy laden, and I will give you rest ' ' (Matt. 1 1:28) ? 

All over the city, in conspicuous places, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples 
were to be seen. Every day at the shrines and temples, before various symbols 
and statues of the gods, Japanese people— particularly those of the older genera- 
tion—could be seen clapping their hands and holding them together as a sign of 
petition to gods that had eyes but could not see and ears but could not hear. 
Surely Japan's spiritual need was great indeed! So was the heart hunger of the 
people. 

The close of the war had found the Japanese with their cities leveled, many with 
their homes destroyed and family members dead, and all of the people impover- 
ished and on the verge of starvation. To make matters worse, now divested of her 
empire, poverty-stricken Japan had to support over six-million soldiers and civil- 
ians who were poured back into this little island country. 

On January 1, 1946, the emperor publicly disclaimed his divinity. Subjected to 
the humiliation of a devastating defeat in war, the Japanese people now discov- 
ered that the foundation on which they had built their lives was undermined. A 
spiritual vacuum was created. Where could they go for purpose and meaning? 
They had been told that in case of defeat the despised Americans would come in 
killing, raping, and pillaging. Instead of doing these things, the Americans 
marched in singing and passing out candy bars and chewing gum. Rather than 
showing resentment toward the Americans for the defeat they had suffered, the 
Japanese people, for the most part, directed their resentment toward the mis- 
guided policies of their political and military leaders and came to look upon the 
American military forces, at least for a time, as an army of liberation. 

Now there was an amazing openness toward anything regarded as American. 
Many Japanese began to feel that perhaps the heart hunger they felt could be 
filled through the Christian faith. Speaking from the standpoint of a committed 
Christian rather than from that of a seeker, Akiko Endo had captured this feeling in 
these words: "The Japanese people are not an especially wicked people above 
other peoples. They are a misguided people. Oh, America, blessed nation, send 
us shepherds for the sheep." 

A visit from Akiko Endo shortly after we got settled in the Lutheran apartment in 
Tokyo gave us a big lift. A little over two years earlier Kay and I had met her in 
Louisville, while she was a student at the Training School. I had told her then how 



74 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

the Lord had spoken to me through her letter. Having remembered this, she had 
sought us out for a special welcome. Since she spoke excellent English, there 
was no problem of communication. A warm friendship developed, and this has 
deepened through the years. The brilliance of her mind, the radiance of her Chris- 
tian personality, and the depth of her commitment to our Lord have inspired us 
continually. 

Gradually the story of her life was disclosed to us. Born into a nominal Buddhist 
family in Tokyo, Akiko Endo was the youngest daughter of a successful business- 
man of considerable wealth. While her two brothers received encouragement 
from their parents in their studies and were able to enter Tokyo University, the top 
school in Japan, Akiko-san was not allowed to go to college, because her parents 
thought that a higher education would make her too independent and stubborn to 
be a sweet, obedient wife. 

Frustrated over this situation, she became gloomy and rebellious. As a special 
concession, her parents gave her permission to go to a typing and English conver- 
sation school in Tokyo which had classes on the second floor of the YMCA in 
close proximity to the language school used by foreigners. It was here that she 
met Dorothy Carver (later Mrs. Maxfield Garrott), who had come to Japan as a mis- 
sionary a few months earlier. When casual conversations led to a close friend- 
ship, Miss Carver offered to teach Akiko-san English free of charge. 

Disappointed to discover that the textbook was the Gospel of Matthew— for 
Akiko-san had no interest in the Bible— she nevertheless agreed to this course of 
study, because free English lessons were too good to give up. After they had 
studied together at a rather slow pace for about a year, they came to the sixteenth 
chapter of Matthew. Looking intently at her Japanese pupil, the missionary asked, 
"What do you think of Christ?" Feeling that she was confronted by divine author- 
ity, Akiko-san realized that sooner or later she would have to answer that ques- 
tion. 

Several months later in midsummer, Akiko-san woke up early and opened a 
window to let air into the stuffy room. It was still dark, but gradually a streak of 
purple appeared which turned to orange and burning red. The sun was coming up. 
"What a beautiful sunrise!" she exclaimed. "I have never seen such a gorgeous 
sight." Suddenly it dawned on her that the magnificent sunrise was out there 
every morning, but that she had never seen it before because she had had all the 
windows and doors tightly closed. "I will open the door of my heart to Christ," she 
said to herself. At that moment joy flooded her soul and flowed through her whole 
being. 

Becoming alarmed at his daughter's devotion to Christianity, Akiko-san's father 
told her that she was a disgrace to the family because she had embraced a foreign 



JAPAN AT LAST 75 

god. Then he confronted her with the alternative: "You can either give up your 
foreign god and enjoy our love and protection or leave home alone with no se- 
curity." 

Akiko-san was a new Christian with little knowledge of the Bible. Faced with this 
choice, she came to realize that she could not live without Christ. As she prayed, a 
verse which gave her strength came to mind: "He that loveth father or mother 
more than me is not worthy of me." 

When she told Miss Carver of her trouble with her parents, the missionary 
embraced her and said, "You are my child. I will take care of you." Then she said, 
"You are gifted, particularly in language study. It is your responsibility and mine 
to develop your talent for serving our Master." 

When Akiko-san was turned out of her home, the missionary sent her to college 
in Nagasaki. Gathering war clouds made it necessary for Dorothy Carver Garrott to 
leave Japan in March of 1941 , but she did not forget the daughter in Christ she had 
left in Japan. When Akiko-san was graduated from college, she received a cable- 
gram from the missionary, which read, "Committing you to the grace of God." 

After teaching three years in the college in Nagasaki from which she had been 
graduated, Akiko-san was called home to Tokyo and reconciled to her parents. 
The time was about a year before the end of the war. Thus she escaped the sec- 
ond atomic bomb to fall on Japan— that on Nagasaki. 

Naturally, the part of Akiko-san's story which fascinated me most was that about 
her having to make a choice as to whether she would follow Christ or her parents. I 
could identify with her completely, though I realized that the conflict she had 
experienced had been far more intense than mine. Mine had been resolved with- 
out a break in family relations, but she had had to leave home for a number of 
years. "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me"— these 
words from Matthew 10 had come to both of us as a message from the Lord di- 
rected to our particular situations. 

Conversations with Akiko-san also disclosed the circumstances which led to 
her writing the article from which Dr. Maxfield Garrott read in the Missionary Day 
Service at Southern Seminary December 12, 1945. With the close of the war there 
came a complete turnover in the value system of the Japanese people. America, 
which had until recently been regarded as the despised enemy, now was looked 
upon as a benevolent friend. Japan was castigated with bitter criticism, and Amer- 
ica was praised in beautiful eulogies. Feeling that in a war neither side could be 
absolutely right and neither side absolutely wrong, she had written an article (I 
had thought it was a letter) to seek to restore balance and perspective in this 
matter. In the providence of God it was used to lead me to Japan. 1 



76 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Note 

1. In 1954, Akiko Endo married Rev. Shuichi Matsumura, pastor of the Tokiwadai Baptist 
Church in Tokyo. Pastor Matsumura has served at different times as executive secretary, 
secretary of evangelism, and president of the Japan Baptist Convention as well as a vice- 
president of the Baptist World Alliance. Akiko-san also has held many important positions in 
Christian work in Japan and Asia. In 1956, she helped organize the Asian Baptist Youth Fel- 
lowship and chaired the first Youth Congress in Hong Kong. She has served as president of 
the WMU of the Japan Baptist Convention and as president of the Asian Baptist Women's 
Union. As this is written, she serves as a vice-president of the Baptist World Alliance. 



9 
Early Adjustments 



During the spring vacation at language school the first week in April, we moved 
into a frame house on the Nishi-Okubo compound. This compound consisted of 
nine wooden houses, two pre-fabs, and a garage apartment. The frame houses 
had been constructed hastily the previous year to take care of the large influx of 
new missionaries who were coming to Tokyo for language study. 

Accustomed as we were to the cramped quarters of our apartment in Louisville 
and to the Lutheran apartment with no study and only one bedroom, we felt like 
we had moved into a mansion. Though all the rooms were small, we had a living 
room-dining room combination, a kitchen, two bedrooms, a study, and a bath. 
Besides these, there was a small room with toilet facilities for a maid. 

Moving into this house where we lived in close fellowship with other missionary 
families had a liberating effect upon the whole family, particularly Cathy and Kay. 
On the ship Cathy had been quite outgoing and had enjoyed the attention she had 
received from everyone. After a few weeks of the relative isolation of the Lutheran 
apartment, however, she became withdrawn and afraid and would cry when occa- 
sionally someone would come to the door. Since Cathy now had many playmates 
her own age and was in constant contact with adults as well, during her two years 
on the compound she acquired a social bent which she has never lost. 

Life at Nishi-Okubo liberated Kay also from the relative isolation in which she 
had lived for three months. Not knowing Japanese, she had had no one to talk 
with except Cathy and me. Yet Cathy could not respond with words, and I was 
away or busy a large part of the time. Now all of this was changed. Soon we found 
a Japanese maid, Yoshie Ozaki. Yoshie-san, as we called her, had lived in Taiwan 
until the end of the war. At the close of the war, she and her family, along with 
several million other Japanese in Taiwan, Korea, and other parts of Japan's pre- 
war empire, had been repatriated to Japan. A very pleasant girl about nineteen 
years old, Yoshie-san soon became an important member of our family. Her 
cheerfulness, dependability, and willingness to learn American ways of cooking 
and housekeeping took a big load off Kay. This enabled Kay to get a tutor and start 
studying Japanese at home. 

77 



78 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Since Yoshie-san understood very little English, we communicated with her 
entirely in Japanese. This greatly increased our exposure to the language and 
facilitated our learning considerably. Yoshie-san always spoke to Cathy in 
Japanese, and we talked to her only in English. This enabled Cathy to learn to 
speak both languages quite naturally and effortlessly. The two languages were 
never confused in her mind, for she knew to speak English with Americans and 
Japanese with the Japanese people. Her pronunciation was hardly distinguish- 
able from that of the Japanese, which has never been true of ours. 

Not having had the same opportunities of language study that I had enjoyed, for 
a time Kay was quite limited in her ability to use the language. Hearing Kay strug- 
gling to tell Yoshie-san something in Japanese one day, I felt that my wife was 
butchering the language. 

"Do you understand what she is saying?" I asked. 

Replying with utmost tactfulness, Yoshie-san said, "I understand your words, 
but I understand her heart." This spontaneous answer encouraged my wife tre- 
mendously and taught both of us a lesson. There is a means of communication 
that transcends the language barrier, the language of love. People can tell 
whether you love them, even if your words are not adequate to express your 
ideas. 

After the initial shock of that first traumatic day in language school, I began to 
enjoy the study of Japanese. This surprised me, for I had never enjoyed language 
study before. Though I had always made fairly good grades in language courses, 
in college I had to force myself to study French and German, and the same was 
true with Greek, Hebrew, and Latin in the seminary. Unquestionably, Japanese is 
a much more difficult language than any of these. What was the difference? I had 
always studied other languages along with other subjects, and the other subjects 
were always more interesting. Now, however, the study of Japanese was my main 
responsibility. In fact, I was being paid by the Foreign Mission Board to study it. 

Much deeper than this, however, was the matter of motivation. I was highly 
motivated to study Japanese. I desired to be able to talk with the Japanese people 
and learn what they were thinking. I wanted to be able to witness to them on a one- 
to-one basis, and, most of all, I longed to be able to preach to them the message 
of God's saving grace in Jesus Christ. 

Each day the missionaries on the compound who attended language school 
made the twenty-minute drive back and forth in two station wagons. The language 
school we attended was the Tokyo School of the Japanese Language. A special 
language course developed by Naoe Naganuma originally for occupation forces 
was now being used in a language school whose students were largely mission- 
aries of various denominations. 



EARLY ADJUSTMENTS 79 

Classes ranged from four to ten in size. Each morning for three one-hour 
periods three different Japanese teachers talked to us constantly in Japanese 
and asked us questions, eliciting our replies. During the first two hours the 
teacher drilled us on the lesson for that day. During the last hour she introduced 
the lesson for the coming day. All of this time we had to keep our books closed 
and listen and answer as best we could. Adequate preparation for a day's lesson 
took four to six hours. 

Each lesson introduced important new sentence patterns which we had to 
memorize and learn to apply in new situations. For about the first five months we 
studied the primer in a romanized script. Then we went through the primer again, 
this time in Japanese script. 

Japanese writing consists of three forms of symbols. There are forty-eight cur- 
sive symbols called hiragana, which represent the basic sounds in Japanese. By 
placing two dots or a small circle by the side of some of these symbols an addi- 
tional twenty-five sounds are represented. Another twenty-five sounds are indi- 
cated by using some of these symbols in combinations. The same sounds repre- 
sented by hiragana can also be expressed by katakana, a block style of writing 
used for foreign names, foreign words, and telegrams. Kanji, or Chinese char- 
acters, are a third kind of symbols. These express individual words or compon- 
ents of words when the words are compounds. There are thousands of kanji., 
though basic usage now is confined largely to eighteen hundred characters. The 
simplest of these characters require only a few strokes, but the more complicated 
ones take twenty or more. In language school we learned hiraganai\rs\ and then 
gradually the kanjiior separate words. 

One of the things that thrilled me most about the study of Japanese was that it 
was not just an intellectual discipline. The things I learned at school I could use in 
shopping, in conversing with Yoshie-san, and in talking with Japanese persons in 
church and at other places. This made the language come alive and transformed 
what might have been a dull, monotonous chore into an exciting adventure. 

One of the criticisms often leveled at the particular course of study we were 
taking was that it did not offer much religious vocabulary. Personally, I did not find 
this too much a drawback, for I found that if I understood the basic structure of the 
language, I could pick up the religious vocabulary at church. Thus I always at- 
tended worship services with a dictionary in hand. 

The people of the Shinkoiwa Baptist Church, where I worshiped those two years 
I was in language school, were extremely patient and appreciative of my attempts 
to communicate with them in their own language. Very few, if any, of the members 
in this factory-district church in the Tokyo suburbs had attended college, and not 
many could speak more than a few words of English. Pastor and Mrs. Uichiro 



80 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Tateishi welcomed me warmly and spoke to me in Japanese as if I understood the 
language perfectly. 

This kind of warm acceptance from the people of this church encouraged me to 
use the Japanese I was learning. After we had been studying the primer at lan- 
guage school for about four months we had a lesson on Abraham Lincoln. I went 
over this lesson so many times that I could virtually recite it by heart. Then the 
thought occurred to me: // / could do this with the story of Abraham Lincoln I 
should be able to do the same with stories of Jesus. This led to my typing out 
stories of Jesus about a page long and having Akiko Endo translate these for me. 
She did this gladly without charge as a labor of love and presented me the story 
typed up in romaji, the romanized form of Japanese. Then I memorized these 
stories and gave them in five or ten-minute talks each Sunday night at Shinkoiwa 
Church. I did this for about ten Sundays in a row and then stopped. 

These short talks, more than anything else, enabled me to build up a religious 
vocabulary. They were extremely difficult for me, since I refused to use notes. If I 
couldn't recall a word I was in trouble, because I didn't have enough freedom in 
the language to express the same idea another way. 

During this time I made a nuisance of myself at the Nishi-Okubo compound by 
visiting various missionaries and practicing my speech for Sunday on them. One 
day Ed Oliver deflated me completely. 

Ed said, "Bob, I have been hearing some very good things about your progress 
in the language." 

"You have?" I answered with a tone that said, "Tell me more." 

"Yeah," responded Ed. "The problem is that all of it has come from you." 

Ed kept us all entertained with his humor. Another one of Ed's barbed compli- 
ments went like this. He would walk up to someone who was wearing what looked 
like a new suit. Feeling the lapel, he would say, "That's fine material." After paus- 
ing just long enough for a smile to brighten the face of the one he was addressing, 
he would add, "Yep, that's fine material, a mighty fine grade of burlap." Or, "Too 
bad they didn't have your size." 

Bill Walker had introduced me to the Shinkoiwa Baptist Church. He and Mary 
had come to Japan the previous summer with the famous group of twenty-seven. 
Having studied the language for a year at Yale before arriving in Japan, he and 
Mary were to leave the summer of 1951 for their assignment in Oita. Mary Cul- 
pepper Walker is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. C. L. Culpepper from China and 
Taiwan. Her brother, Charlie, has long been a professor of theology in the Taiwan 
Baptist Theological Seminary. Often asked if Mary and I are related, we respond 
that we are "kissing cousins." Perhaps our families are distantly related, since 
they both came originally from Virginia and both were formerly Primitive Baptists. 



EARLY ADJUSTMENTS 81 

Through the years Bill and Mary have been among our closest friends. One rea- 
son Bill wanted me at the Shinkoiwa church was he knew he would not be there 
long and thought it would be good if he had a replacement. 

After Bill left, I taught the English Bible class he had taught on Sunday morn- 
ings. The problem with this class was that few could understand English well 
enough to get anything out of it without an interpreter, and the church had no able 
interpreter. From time to time the pastor would invite me to preach. Sometimes 
these services would be well-advertised, and an interpreter would be brought in 
from another church. At other times, however, the pastor would call on one of the 
young people in the church to interpret for me. These were usually painful experi- 
ences for me, the interpreter, and the congregation. Not having a proficient in- 
terpreter, though, only strengthened my incentive to preach in Japanese. 

The sermons which Pastor Tateishi preached were simple, biblical, Christ- 
centered messages. Even when I could not understand very well what he was 
saying I could at least follow the Scripture passages he was using. Since Pastor 
and Mrs. Tateishi had served as missionaries to the Japanese living in Manchuria 
prior to the war, they were especially sensitive to the needs and problems of 
missionaries. They invited our family to their home for dinner, and we welcomed 
them to our home also. Through this fellowship we came to love and admire them 
as Christians who had suffered for their faith. 

The Tateishis had five remaining daughters. Two of their children had died in 
Manchuria— one of them their only son. They took comfort in the fact that God 
gave his only Son for the life of the world. During the war years Pastor Tateishi 
was imprisoned for two years for his faith. His offenses were refusing to take part 
in anything that had any connection with emperor worship and continually preach- 
ing that Jesus Christ was coming again as King of kings and Lord of lords. The 
prison cell where he was confined for a time was so small he couldn't stretch his 
body out completely, and the ceiling so low that he couldn't stand. Deprived for a 
while of his Bible and his hymnal, he would nevertheless arise early each morn- 
ing, take some exercises to keep himself physically fit, and sing hymns, pray, and 
recite Scripture to himself. His wife was allowed to supplement his meager diet by 
bringing rice balls to his prison. Hidden inside these rice balls there would always 
be a Bible verse scribbled on a small piece of paper. These were mostly verses of 
promise or hope which would encourage steadfastness in the midst of tribulation. 
Memorizing these verses of Scripture, Tateishi-sensei would nourish his soul 
upon the Word of God as he ate his rice. 

Besides the pastor and his family, the member of the Shinkoiwa Church who 
made the deepest impression on me was a young man named Masao Kawaguchi. 
During the first year I was at Shinkoiwa, Kawaguchi-san was the leader of the 



82 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

young people's group. Having finished two years of college work in Tokyo, he 
entered the seminary in Fukuoka in the spring of 1952, a year before I joined the 
faculty there. Upon graduating from the seminary in the spring of 1955, he be- 
came pastor of the Fukuoka Baptist Church, which Kay and I had joined two years 
earlier after moving to Fukuoka. The story of how Kawaguchi-san came to know 
the Lord along with the change which Christ made in his life has been an inspira- 
tion to me since I first heard it. 

Kawaguchi-san's first contact with the gospel came one Sunday night when he 
was eighteen years old. Returning from a bath house in the suburban area of 
Tokyo where he lived, he heard some young people in front of the station giving 
their testimonies. "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest" (Matt. 11:28)— these words of invitation from Jesus grasped his 
heart. He followed the group to the church and heard the gospel message the first 
time as Pastor Tateishi preached. 

The next day about the same time, recalling the experience of the evening be- 
fore, he went to church again. Though there was no service that evening, Pastor 
Tateishi received him warmly and talked with him most of the evening about 
Christ. The next night he came again, and the pastor continued to witness to him. 
Wednesday evening he attended the prayer service at the church. Thursday, Fri- 
day, and Saturday nights he returned to talk about Christ and salvation through 
him. Sunday he attended both the morning and evening worship service. That 
night after church he was ready to make his decision. Pastor Tateishi had him 
spend some time confessing his sins one by one. Then Kawaguchi-san received 
Christ into his heart and experienced Christ's forgiveness and cleansing. 

One of the sins that Kawaguchi-san had confessed was that of hating his father 
because his father often came home drunk and abused his wife and children. The 
Lord cleansed him of this hatred and gave him a genuine compassion for his 
father, who at that time was in the hospital seriously ill. Rushing to the hospital, 
Kawaguchi-san spoke pleadingly to the doctor, "Please, don't let my father die. 
He's not saved yet." Of course, the doctor did not know what he was talking 
about. Gradually, Kawaguchi-san's father regained his health. Though at first he 
could not understand what his son was trying to tell him, he could understand that 
his son's attitude toward him had changed radically. Before long, Kawaguchi-san 
had led all of his family to Christ— his father, his older sister, his two younger 
brothers, and his mother. 1 

With the arrival of nine new missionaries in the summer of 1951 the ranks of the 
missionaries to Japan under appointment by the Foreign Mission Board swelled 
to eighty-two. Ralph and Gena Calcote, friends from seminary days, were in this 
group. The Calcotes with their son, Stuart, about seven months older than Cathy, 



EARLY ADJUSTMENTS 83 

stayed in our home for about a week while they were awaiting the arrival of their 
freight. The Calcotes have been among our closest friends since our time to- 
gether on the compound. 

In September of our first year in Japan Kay also started to language school. 
Finding the stimulation of studying with a class a much better method of learning 
the language than studying alone with a private tutor, she began to advance in her 
knowledge of Japanese. 

While Kay found her recreation in walking about a mile to downtown Shinjuku 
and shopping in the department stores there, I found mine on the volleyball court. 
Every afternoon about an hour before supper, the cry, "Volleyball! Volleyball!" 
would resound throughout the compound. Most of the men and some of the 
women also then dropped their language books and headed for the volleyball 
court. Our play was thoroughly therapeutic, allowing us to take out the frustra- 
tions of language study on the volleyball. 

Toward the end of July 1951, 1 climbed 12,360-foot Mount Fuji, along with five 
other Baptist missionaries— Tucker Callaway, Bill Emanuel, George Hays, Fred 
Horton, and Stan Howard. We started our ascent about 5:00 one afternoon and 
climbed until about 1 1 :00 that night, when we stopped at one of the little huts built 
for the thousands who climb the mountain every year. After resting for about five 
and a half hours we started climbing again about 4:30 the next morning, and in a 
little while were thrilled to see a gorgeous sunrise bathe the sea of clouds below 
with brilliant colors. The weather was perfect, affording a clear view of the Hakone 
lakes and the snow-capped Japan Alps in the distance. Overhead the sky was a 
bright blue, while the clouds that drifted by below only served to enhance the 
charm of the rugged mountain scenery. The rarity of the atmosphere made the 
last two thousand feet of the climb quite slow and tiring. Arriving at the summit 
shortly before noon, we enjoyed taking color slides of the extinct volcano. 

For the descent we took another route and ran, slid, and tumbled down the side 
of the mountain that was largely volcanic ash. Arriving back at the Nishi-Okubo 
compound shortly before midnight, I was black from head to toe. Since the water 
was cut off each night at 10:00, 1 had to take my bath with two kettles of water we 
had boiled for drinking. The Japanese have a proverb to the effect that there are 
two kinds of fools, those who have never ciimbed Fuji-san and those who climb it 
more than once. I have never been tempted to make the climb again. 

A memorable outing that involved Kay and Cathy was to the beautiful mountain 
and lake district called Hakone, about three hours from Tokyo. We made the trip 
with Calvin and Harriett Parker and their baby, Franklin. Though it was spring by 
the calendar, a cold spell had brought a couple of inches of fresh snow. Having 
the lodge almost to ourselves, we enjoyed soaking in the Japanese furo (hot bath) 



84 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

and sitting in padded bath robes in front of the big log fire in the rustic lobby. Time 
spent in such good fellowship flew as we played Rook and enjoyed conversing 
with the Parkers. 

Since eleven families on the compound used two station wagons (one family 
had brought over its own car), we had to sign up to use the car for shopping or 
other purposes. One day Morris Wright, who had signed up to use one of the sta- 
tion wagons after me, came to the house and asked, "Bob, where is the car?" 

A look of sheepish embarrassment came over my face as I answered, "Give me 
about fifty minutes, Morris, and I'll get it for you. It's where I left it down on the 
Ginza" (the famous shopping street in downtown Tokyo). 

Knowing that Morris, like myself, was not always able to keep his temper under 
control, I was concerned about what his reaction would be. Much to my relief, his 
expression of shocked amazement and indignation soon gave way to a smile and 
then a hearty laugh. Having driven the car downtown, I had forgotten it and re- 
turned on the streetcar. 

The first mission meeting we attended was held in the Tokyo Chapel Center in 
August of 1951 . The meeting place itself was comfortable enough, but the fact that 
the missionaries in the Tokyo area became the hosts for missionaries in the out- 
lying areas meant that our homes were crowded during this period, and problems 
of logistics left us physically exhausted. My attitude toward Mission Meeting 
became rather negative. Do we have to do this every year?\ wondered. 

After our Mission Meeting in Kyoto in August of 1952, my feeling about this time 
together changed completely. Comfortably accommodated in a nice Western- 
style hotel, we were free to take care of the business at hand, to worship and have 
fellowship together in a relaxed atmosphere. Messages from Dr. Baker James 
Cauthen, our area secretary, and Dr. Frank Connely, our new mission treasurer, 
helped prepare the way for the singular outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our mis- 
sion, Wednesday evening, August 6, 1952. 

Under Marion Moorhead's direction about seventy of us missionaries, along 
with Dr. and Mrs. Cauthen, formed a circle in the meeting hall of our hotel about 
7:30 that evening. Marion said, "Let's just turn our eyes toward Jesus and focus 
our thoughts on him tonight." In a very informal but reverent atmosphere we sang 
some choruses. The one which made the deepest impression on me was one 
which I had never heard before called, "Longing for Jesus." Quietly we sang it 
through several times: "Longing, longing for Jesus; I have a longing in my heart 
for him." 

Then Marion asked those who wished to do so to give their testimonies con- 
cerning how they had come to know Christ. Fred Horton told of how the open 
home and warm hospitality of the Doziers in Hawaii during World War II had led 



EARLY ADJUSTMENTS 85 

him, as a serviceman, to an encounter with the living Christ. Reiji Hoshizaki told 
of his conversion experience as I had heard him share it so movingly ten years 
earlier at Ridgecrest. After several testimonies of this sort, Marion asked those 
who felt so led to tell how they had been called to Japan. At this point, along with 
others, I gave my testimony. Then an opportunity was given for anyone present to 
share anything on his heart. Alma Wood and Lois Whaley, who had both experi- 
enced serious illnesses during the year, told how the Lord had sustained them in 
the midst of the crises through which they had passed and expressed gratitude 
for the way God had ministered to them in the time of their special need through 
the love and prayers of the mission family. Luther Copeland said, "I have been 
asking God to let me know him better, and he has answered that prayer. As I look 
about me, I see him in your faces." 

After about two hours of such sharing, I stood up and said: "I don't think I have 
ever felt more like praying than I do now. And I don't think I have ever wanted more 
to pray on my knees." Thereupon, we all fell on our knees before God and bared 
our hearts to him in a period of spontaneous prayer. The Holy Spirit fell upon us 
that night, and he came upon us as a body to cleanse us and unite us in his serv- 
ice. I don't think there was a dry eye among us when we rose from our knees. Yet 
none of us would have called it emotionalism. It was God making himself known to 
us through the Holy Spirit as we gathered at the feet of his Son. 

That night I discovered that though we had left our natural families in the States 
we had a family in Japan. Now I understood from a new perspective what Jesus 
meant when looking around on those about him he said: "Here are my mother and 
my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother" 
(Mark 3:34-35, RSV). I discovered that the promise of Jesus is true: those who 
leave family members for his sake receive other "family" members many times 
over (Mark 10:29-30). I was also beginning to discover that this is true not only with 
respect to our mission family but also in regard to the Japanese Christians with 
whom we were associated. 



Note 

1. Upon graduation from the seminary, Kawaguchi-sensei married one of the daughters of 
Pastor Tateishi, the man who had led him to Christ. After eight years as pastor of the Fukuoka 
Baptist Church, one year in pioneer evangelism, and four years as secretary of evangelism 
for the Japan Baptist Convention, in 1968, Kawaguchi-sensei succeeded his father-in-law as 
pastor of the Shinkoiwa Baptist Church. Tateishi-sensei has remained with the church as 
pastor emeritus and as head of the church kindergarten. 



10 
A People Ripe for the Gospel 



During the days of the military occupation the openness of the Japanese people 
to the gospel was truly phenomenal. For example, the first time I preached, not 
long after our arrival in Japan, there were thirteen who responded to the invita- 
tion, coming forward to indicate that they were giving their lives to Christ. And this 
was just a regular Sunday morning service with no special advance advertisement 
or publicity! 

Shortly after the close of the war General Douglas MacArthur spoke of Japan's 
problem as a theological one and called upon Christian churches to send a thou- 
sand missionaries. Before many years, hundreds of missionaries were flowing 
into Japan— some from denominations that had long-established work in this 
country but many others from groups that had never before had missionaries in 
Japan. 

In April of 1947, representatives of sixteen Baptist churches in Japan withdrew 
from the Kyodan, the union church into which most Protestant denominations had 
been forced six months before Pearl Harbor, and formed the Japan Baptist Con- 
vention. Adopting "the Light of Christ to All Japan" as its motto, this newly 
formed convention stated its intention of carrying the Christian message, as Bap- 
tists understand it, to every part of Japan. The convention called upon the Foreign 
Mission Board for personnel assistance through the sending of missionaries and 
for financial assistance in rebuilding old church buildings and in constructing new 
ones. Responding enthusiastically, the Board adopted an initial goal of one 
hundred missionaries for Japan and started moving rapidly toward meeting it. 
Southern Baptists were most generous in supplying funds for rebuilding church 
buildings destroyed during the war and in buying land and erecting new buildings 
for new congregations. The number of organized churches within the Convention 
doubled within three years and tripled in less than six. 

Establishing a Baptist church in each of the forty-six prefectures under the 
leadership of a Japanese pastor and an American missionary was soon accepted 
as basic strategy. These churches would then be responsible for evangelizing 

86 



A PEOPLE RIPE FOR THE GOSPEL 87 

their prefectures. Before long Japan Baptists had captured the vision of having a 
thousand Baptist churches within twenty-five years. 

All that one needed to do in those days to assemble a crowd for an evangelistic 
meeting was to put a loudspeaker on a car and drive around in the community 
announcing the services an hour or two before beginning. The attraction was even 
greater if the speaker was a foreigner. Sometimes even in the largest auditoriums 
in a city, the space was not large enough and some had to be turned away. 

Seeking to capture some of this enthusiasm for Christ, in the fall of 1950 Japan 
Baptists invited four distinguished Southern Baptist preachers to take part in a 
preaching mission. The response both in terms of attendance and decisions was 
so overwhelming that a similar month of evangelistic meetings with eight visiting 
team members was planned for the fall of 1951. The 1950 preaching mission 
helped launch the Baptist witness in Osaka and Kobe. Four months after the cam- 
paign, the Osaka Baptist Church was organized, and two months later the Kobe 
Baptist Church was constituted. At the time of organization, each of these 
churches had over thirty charter members and an average attendance of over 
sixty. Similar results now normally take five to ten years. During the second 
preaching mission ten thousand decisions were recorded, about half of them pro- 
fessions of faith. Within a year about one thousand of those who had registered 
decisions had been baptized. These preaching missions truly gave a big boost to 
the Baptist witness in Japan. 

During the second preaching mission, one of the team members, Dr. M. Ray 
McKay, stayed in our home for a week, while preaching each night at the Toki- 
wadai Baptist Church. After meeting Dr. McKay, our helper, Yoshie-san, said, 
"He's a good pastor, I believe," and began attending the services. Later she 
explained to us: "Until I came to work in your home, I had no conception of Chris- 
tianity. I had seen the crosses on certain churches, but the cross had no meaning 
tome." 

One of the things that impressed Yoshie-san was the family worship we had 
each morning before breakfast. Day by day she came to see what it meant to live 
by Christian principles. We gave her some tracts, and she began attending the 
English Bible class (taught through an interpreter) in our home every Friday eve- 
ning. Also two Japanese friends talked with her about accepting Christ and 
prayed with her. Hearing Dr. McKay preach one evening on "Why Christ Died on 
the Cross," Yoshie-san realized for the first time that Christ had died for her, and 
she accepted him as her Savior that night. 

When during the course of the month Dr. McKay became ill, I was invited by Dr. 
Baker James Cauthen, our area secretary who was also one of the ministers in the 
preaching mission, to substitute for Dr. McKay for a week. Dr. Cauthen explained 



88 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

that I was being asked because the people were expecting someone from Amer- 
ica, and since I had not been in Japan very long perhaps I would be an appropriate 
substitute. Thrilled by this unexpected opportunity, I readily accepted, though it 
meant missing a week from language school. 

The meetings in which I participated were in rural Japan in the Kawane valley of 
Shizuoka prefecture. The Christian witness in that area had been begun by Pastor 
Yoshizo Tomita, who had fled Tokyo following the destruction of his church and 
pastorium by fire bombs. Services in his home and in another place in the area led 
to the organization of two churches. 

At the time of the preaching mission, Rev. Tomita had moved back to Tokyo and 
was pastor of the Dai Ichi Baptist Church in that city. Having arranged the meet- 
ings, he accompanied us as our guide, and Takeshi Fukuhara, who worked in the 
mission office, went along as my interpreter. 

It was the season of the rice harvest in rural Japan. In some places the rice had 
already been harvested and hung on racks to dry, while in other places the har- 
vest was still in progress. 

It was not only the rice fields which were ripe unto harvest. Even the people in 
rural Japan, who are normally quite impervious to the gospel, were open to the 
good news of salvation in Jesus Christ and very responsive to the message. I 
preached three times a day to overflow crowds in each place. Always there was a 
tremendous response to the invitation. The meetings were held in office build- 
ings, public halls, schools, a church building— any place available that would 
accommodate a crowd. Some of the meetings were held in villages where there 
had never been a Christian service before. What a joy it was to preach the gospel 
to crowds of people, knowing that most of them were hearing the Christian mes- 
sage for the first time! 

I was always amazed at the energy displayed by Pastor Tomita, then in his 
seventies. Not yet twenty-seven, I found myself exhausted before the end of each 
day. Pastor Tomita, though, always seemed quite fresh. The secret, I discovered 
later, was that he was getting three one-hour naps each day while I was preach- 
ing! 

For me this was a delightful period of total immersion in Japanese life. Every- 
where I went I was the only foreigner. Japanese children would run after me call- 
ing, "Gaijin" (foreigner) or "Amerikajin" (American). Each night I slept on futon 
(thick quilts) laid on tatami (straw mats). Nothing but Japanese-style food was 
served at any time. Breakfast consisted of a large bowl of rice with a raw egg and 
soy sauce poured over it, seaweed, dried fish, fish paste, pickles, and green tea. 
Each night I took a Japanese bath, washing outside the tub and then getting into 
the uncomfortably hot water to soak. 



A PEOPLE RIPE FOR THE GOSPEL 89 

Within a year the attitude in Japan with regard to Christianity had begun to 
change. The Allied occupation ended officially April 28, 1952, when the peace 
treaty signed by Japan with forty-eight nations on September 8,1951 came into 
effect. Japan had once again taken her place among the family of nations. No 
longer was it necessary to stamp the words "Made in Occupied Japan" on prod- 
ucts sent out of the country. Once again the Japanese people began to take pride 
in their flag. The tendency to depreciate things Japanese and praise anything 
American began to pass as nationalism in various forms began to assert itself. 

Three days after Japan gained her independence, Communist-organized May 
Day riots occurred in Tokyo. Students and workers, carrying sticks, waving Com- 
munist banners, and shouting anti-American slogans clashed with the police. A 
number of American automobiles were overturned and set on fire. These riots, 
captured by the camera, were viewed by the American television audience. The 
American people, not yet inured to this type of news reporting, tended to become 
unduly alarmed and to exaggerate the importance of this event. The Japanese 
people, however, showed their distaste for violence by giving the Communist 
party candidates a significant setback at the polls during the next election. 

Nonetheless, Japan's regained independence marked the end of the era of 
extremely rapid growth for the Christian movement which had begun with the end 
of the war. Twice before Christianity had enjoyed an even more rapid numerical 
advance. The first period came in the latter half of the sixteenth century, when it 
had appeared for a while that Catholic Christianity might conquer Japan. Then a 
period of ruthless persecution had set in, and the doors of Japan had been closed 
to the outside world for two and a half centuries. 

The second period of extremely rapid growth took place in the 1880s, as a result 
of the removal of anti-Christian edicts in 1873. During the 1880s within a seven- 
year period church membership increased sevenfold. The Imperial Rescript on 
Education of 1890, which made emperor worship an instrument of government 
policy, brought the rapid advance of the Christian movement to an end and once 
again put Christianity under a cloud. In comparison with these anti-Christian re- 
actions the one which began in 1952 was mild indeed. 

After living in Japan for about a year, I received an invitation to preach at the 
Mejiro ga Oka Baptist Church, where Akiko Endo was a member. Taking this as 
the occasion for preaching my first sermon in Japanese, I wrote the sermon out in 
that language and had Akiko-san correct the grammatical errors and awkward 
expressions. Studying this corrected text until I had virtually memorized it, I 
preached the sermon without notes and with a good deal of freedom. Throughout 
most of the sermon Akiko-san sat in the congregation with tears in her eyes, and I 
knew they were tears of joy. Grateful that God had given me the ability to preach 



90 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

to the Japanese in their own language, I never preached through an interpreter 
again. 

On January 5, 1953, we were invited for dinner to the home of Les and Hazel 
Watson, who by this time had moved to the Nishi-Okubo compound. The occasion 
was the celebration of the second anniversary of our arrival together in Japan. 
After enjoying a delicious meal, the four of us on this cold winter evening gath- 
ered around the gas heater, the sole source of heat in the room. We talked to- 
gether for a little while, and then Les and Hazel introduced us to a Texas game 
called 42, played with dominoes. 

About 10:00 PM when we started to leave, I had a splitting headache. Hazel ran 
to the bathroom and vomited, while the rest of us opened the door to get air. Walk- 
ing out on the porch, Kay said, "I'm going," and then fainted and had a convul- 
sion. At once we recognized the problem. We were suffering from gas poisoning. 
There was a defect in the heater which allowed some of the gas to escape in the 
room without burning. Though we were all affected by the gas, Kay's condition 
was much worse than that of any of the rest of us. She had been sitting nearest 
the heater, and she was about two months pregnant at the time. 

Immediately, we summoned Dr. Audrey Fontnote, who was living on the Nishi- 
Okubo compound while in language school prior to the opening of Baptist Hospital 
in Kyoto. Dr. Fontnote worked tirelessly with Kay until about 3:00 AM and then 
instructed us not to move her for the rest of the night. So Kay and I spent the night 
in a Hide-A-Bed in the Watsons' living room not more than forty yards away from 
our house. The next morning when Donabel McMillan came over to borrow some 
eggs from Hazel for breakfast she was startled to see Kay in bed in the Watsons' 
living room. Noticing Kay's bloodshot eyes and the splotched coloration in her 
face, she exclaimed, "My goodness! That must have been some party you had 
over here last night!" 

On Sunday afternoon thirteen days later I dropped by Audrey's house to pick up 
the keys for one of the two station wagons on the compound. Hearing my voice, 
Audrey called me into the study and asked, "Have you got a moment?" 

"Well, I've got to preach at the Chapel Center in a few minutes," I answered. 
"What is it?" 

"It's very important," Dr. Fontnote replied, and then went on to tell me that right 
after the gas incident she had written a letter of inquiry about it to one of her pro- 
fessors in medical school. "I've just received his reply," she answered. The pro- 
fessor explained that in cases of this kind when the mother experiences a short- 
age of oxygen the fetus in the womb inevitably does too. He went on to say that in 
most cases of this sort a natural abortion follows, but that in cases in which this 
does not occur and the pregnancy runs its full course the chances of the baby 



A PEOPLE RIPE FOR THE GOSPEL 91 

being mentally retarded or having some other abnormality are extremely high. 

Upon receiving this word, I got into the car to drive to Chapel Center to preach. 
The text which I had chosen for that day was John 14:27 in which Jesus says: 
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I 
unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." 

As distinctly as if I had been hearing a human voice with the physical ear, I heard 
the Lord speaking to me in my heart. "Bob, do you really believe what you are 
about to preach? Are you willing to commit this problem to me?" 

There in the station wagon as I drove to the Chapel Center, I answered, "Yes, 
Lord, I believe! I commit it to you!" 

Having claimed these words of Jesus as a promise addressed to me, I drove on 
to the Chapel Center and preached on that text with great conviction. That evening 
I shared the experience with Kay. Together we cried for a few minutes and then 
committed the matter to God in prayer. 

Though we did everything we could to save the baby, in a week or so Kay 
started hemorrhaging, and there was nothing we could do to prevent a miscar- 
riage. Throughout the experience, however, we knew a peace that world cannot 
give or take away. One disappointing aftereffect of this episode was that Kay was 
never able to conceive again. 

! had come to Japan hoping to teach in our Baptist seminary but with no assur- 
ance that I would be invited to do so. More and more I had come to feel that the 
seminary was of strategic importance in preparing leaders for the kind of advance 
for which we were praying. On November 21 , 1951 , when the new seminary dorm 
was dedicated in Fukuoka, I had been among the many missionaries and Japa- 
nese pastors there to celebrate the occasion. Asked by the personnel committee 
of our mission what we wanted to do, I had answered that I felt I could make my 
greatest contribution by teaching theology in the seminary, but that I was willing 
to serve wherever I was most needed. 

Receiving an invitation to give a lecture on contemporary theology at the Pas- 
tors' and Missionaries' Conference to be held at Hakone in March of 1952, 1 tried 
to find time in the midst of language study to prepare a lecture on the subject. In 
my lecture I dealt with the social gospel movement, liberalism or modernism, 
Protestant fundamentalism, neo-orthodoxy, and Lundensian theology. 1 

When I had finished the lecture, interpreted quite ably by Rev. Shuichi Ozaki, I 
was approached by Sadaji Kondo, professor of theology in the Theological De- 
partment of Seinan Gakuin University (our Baptist seminary). He extended his 
hand and greeted me warmly, saying in English, "I want you to come to the semi- 
nary and teach theology." Apparently the matter had already been discussed in 
the seminary faculty. A short time later I received an official invitation from the 



92 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

seminary. The personnel committee of our mission discussed the matter with the 
personnel committee of the Japan Baptist Convention, and the assignment was 
made official by the Japan Baptist Mission in its meeting in Kyoto in August of 
1952. 

Shortly after mission meeting, Kay and I made a survey trip to Fukuoka to look 
over the situation. Hoping to build a new mission home in an unchurched area of 
the city and use our home as a meeting place for a new church while I taught in the 
seminary, we looked at several possible areas. However, not knowing Fukuoka, 
we found it virtually impossible to make a decision about the best location. Before 
long it became clear to everyone concerned that the best thing for us to do would 
be to defer any decision about building until we had spent some time in Fukuoka 
and had become acquainted with the city and the churches. In the meantime, we 
were assigned to the mission house built by Luther and Louise Copeland, who 
were leaving for furlough in March of 1953. 



Note 

1. My lecture, entitled "Present Day Schools of Theological Thought," was published in 
English in the May 1952 issue of Shingaku Kenkyu, the theological journal published by the 
faculty of the Theological Department of Seinan Gakuin University. 



11 

Seminary Teaching 



The move to Fukuoka was not nearly as difficult as we had anticipated. The 
Japan Express packed our household goods carefully and shipped them for us. In 
those days the trip to Fukuoka, about seven hundred miles southwest of Tokyo, 
took twenty-three hours by express train. Knowing that it would be five or six days 
before our freight arrived, we decided to break the trip by visiting with friends 
along the way. 

We spent two or three days each with the Reiji Hoshizaki family in Shizuoka and 
the Loyce Nelson family in Okayama. A year earlier we had been in the Hoshizaki 
home in Shizuoka along with other missionaries and Japanese friends to attend 
the memorial service for the Hoshizaki baby who died a few weeks after birth. It 
had been a triumphant service, conducted by Reiji, in which all of us had been 
strengthened and encouraged by the comfort and victory the Lord had given Reiji 
and Asano in the midst of their sorrow. 

Our Baptist witness in Shizuoka had been launched in October of 1951 with the 
second preaching mission, while that in Okayama had begun the following sum- 
mer. These visits deepened our conviction concerning the strategic importance of 
the seminary in training Japanese leaders for the kind of evangelistic advance to 
which God was calling us. 

Located on Kyushu, the southern island of Japan, the city of Fukuoka had a 
population of 430,000 when we moved there. Fifty miles north in Yahata, the Pitts- 
burgh of Japan, the steel mills constantly poured clouds of smoke into the air, but 
Fukuoka, being a commercial city, was relatively free of industrial pollution. Built 
along Hakata Bay, which forms its northern border, the city of Fukuoka had been 
heavily bombed during the war. By the time we moved there, however, little evi- 
dence of the war's devastation remained. Beautiful mountain ranges, such as are 
typical of Japan, flanked the city on the southeast and the southwest. 

The Copeland house into which we moved was a five-minute walk from the 
seminary dormitory. This house and the dormitory were both located on the 
twenty-six-acre tract of land which had been bought for Seinan Gakuin prior to the 

93 



94 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

war. Also located on this land were missionary homes occupied by the Maxfield 
Garrott and the George Hays families. This tract completely surrounded one irri- 
gation lake (not a part of the property) and bordered on another. 

At the time the property was purchased the idea seems to have been that at 
some future date all of Seinan Gakuin— junior high, high school, and college- 
might move to the new location. Shortly after the close of the war, however, it was 
decided that only the theological division of the university would move to the new 
location and that the rest of Seinan Gakuin would remain in Nishijin-machi near 
the bay. 

All around us lay fields of rape blossoms, forming a vast sea of yellow. Since the 
seeds from the rape plant were used to produce cooking oil, the mountain nearby 
was called Abura-yama (oil mountain). 

I had come to Fukuoka to teach in the seminary, an institution with a dual char- 
acter. A division and later a department of Seinan Gakuin University, it was at the 
same time a denominational seminary, the organ of the Japan Baptist Convention 
for the training of its church leaders. 

The course of study offered was lengthened from four years to five the year 
after I came to the seminary. This included two years of liberal arts work and three 
of seminary training. The course was set up in such a way that after four years the 
student graduated with the equivalent of a B.A. in theology. Then he stayed on 
another year for a pastoral course, which like the two previous years of study was 
seminary work but with a little more practical emphasis. Many of the students took 
their first two years of college elsewhere and transferred to Seinan Gakuin for the 
three years of specialized training in the seminary. Some finished college with 
some other major and then took the three years of theology, equivalent to the 
American system of theological education. 

At the time I joined the seminary faculty in April of 1953, it consisted of six full- 
time professors: Toshio Miyoshi, Old Testament; Sadamoto Kawano and Maxfield 
Garrott, New Testament; Sadaji Kondo, theology; Luther Copeland, historical 
studies; and George Hays, Christian ethics. Professor Miyoshi was dean. Profes- 
sor Kondo had recently left Japan for sabbatical study at The Southern Baptist 
Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Shuichi Ozaki, who had helped 
reconstitute the seminary in 1946 and to relate it to Seinan Gakuin the next year, 
was at this time pastor of the Baptist Church in Shimonoseki. Once a week he 
commuted to the seminary to teach New Testament. In June of 1954, he moved 
back to the seminary and rejoined the faculty as a full-time member. 

Several months before coming to the seminary I had been advised of the 
courses I would be teaching, but I had been unable to do any specific preparation 
until we moved to Fukuoka. Then suddenly it dawned upon me that within a few 



SEMINARY TEACHING 95 

days I would have the responsibility of preparing lectures for teaching five hours a 
week. I would have two two-hour courses for seminary students and one one-hour 
Christianity course for university students, most of whom were not Christians. 

Since I had never taught before, I had no backlog of lectures to draw on. Every 
lecture had to be prepared fresh for that time. Moreover, there was the problem of 
the language. The responsibility which I had had prior to this of preaching about 
once a month in Japanese was by no means comparable to that of teaching five 
hours a week in that language. Thinking that teaching everything in Japanese 
would be out of the question for me, I decided to use an interpreter for my two 
seminary courses and to teach my one-hour Christianity course in Japanese. 

The problem came in finding an interpreter. A student quite proficient in Eng- 
lish, Kunihiro Watanabe, agreed to interpret my New Testament theology lectures 
on the atonement, but I could find no one to interpret my systematic theology lec- 
tures. However, Hiroshi Kondo, another seminary student, said that while his 
class schedule would not permit him to interpret this course for me, he could 
translate my lectures in advance of the classes. I was to supply him with an Eng- 
lish manuscript, which he would translate and type for me in roma// (romanized 
Japanese). 

Never before or since have I felt the pressure I did that first year of seminary 
teaching. Had it not been for Golden Week, I don't think I would have survived. 
Beginning with the Emperor's Birthday, April 29, and continuing with Constitution 
Day, May 3, and Boys' Day, May 5, nearly every other day during this week was a 
holiday. Studying all day these holidays and utilizing any other time I could find, I 
worked frantically to stay ahead in my preparation. 

Strangely enough, the one course I taught in my own brand of Japanese was not 
too difficult for me. This course was entitled "The Meaning of Christ for the Chris- 
tian Faith." Writing out a full outline in Japanese, I was able to fill in the details as I 
lectured. 

The course on the atonement also was not too difficult. While doing graduate 
study in the seminary, I had taken a seminar under Dr. Dale Moody on the atone- 
ment in biblical teaching. Moreover, in writing my thesis on The Pauline Doctrine 
of Love I had studied the doctrine of the atonement rather thoroughly, at least in 
its Pauline aspect. Since I was teaching the course through an interpreter, I didn't 
have to worry about the language problem. 

The systematic theology course, though, took at least twice as much time as my 
other two courses put together. Systematic theology was a discipline in which I 
felt ill-prepared, since I had majored in biblical theology, not systematic. It was not 
my nature to teach a textbook prepared by someone else. For me that would have 
been like David trying to wear Saul's armor. Gathering about me a large assort- 



96 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

merit of books treating the whole scope of systematic theology and another group 
dealing with the specific topics I was treating, I labored day and night, trying to 
hammer out my own theology. Since I was frequently dealing with topics I had 
never seriously considered before, often I had difficulty in determining my posi- 
tion with reference to the issues involved. 

Even when I had an English lecture prepared, my work had only begun. I could 
present the lecture intelligibly to the class only if I thoroughly understood the 
Japanese I was using. Since much of the theological vocabulary was new to me, I 
was kept busy trying to learn new words. But the primary difficulty was that of the 
translation itself. I know quite well now— much better than I did then— that transla- 
tion is not easy. Often the translator had not understood what I was trying to say 
and had given a literal translation of my words that missed the meaning com- 
pletely. This meant that even with my inadequate understanding of the language, I 
had to rework a part of every translation. Fortunately, in this I had the help of a 
very good language teacher, Matsuji Matsumoto. The only difficulty was that since 
he didn't understand English, I had to explain everything to him in Japanese. 

Looking back on all of this, I feel quite sorry for the students who took my 
courses in those days. Surely, they must have suffered considerably. I purposely 
used the full period (a ninety-minute period counting as two hours) with my lec- 
ture, hoping the students would not ask questions. I knew that every time they 
asked a question I would be faced with two difficulties: first, trying to understand 
the question, and second, trying to answer it intelligibly in Japanese. 

A little before the end of the first semester I ran into a problem in my class on 
the atonement. One day the students were present and I was there, but the in- 
terpreter had not arrived. Expecting the interpreter to arrive any minute but de- 
siring to avoid wasting precious class time, I stood up and using my English manu- 
script began teaching the class in Japanese. Much to my surprise, the interpreter 
did not come that day, and I taught the full period in Japanese. At the close of the 
class one of the students encouraged me greatly when he suggested, "Why don't 
you do this all the time?" 

Thinking that since I had been able to get along that day without an interpreter, 
even without any Japanese language preparation, I should be able to teach in the 
language if I prepared, I decided to attempt it. Now I was teaching all five hours in 
Japanese but using a different method for each class. For the Christianity course I 
used the extensive Japanese notes I had prepared myself, while for the sys- 
tematic theology course I read a Japanese translation. In teaching the course on 
the atonement, I used only an English manuscript on which I had written in a few 
Japanese words here and there while going through the material with Matsumoto- 
sensei. Gradually, as the year progressed, teaching in Japanese became a little 
easier. 



SEMINARY TEACHING 97 

Before long, at my request, Matsumoto-sensei started transliterating the romaji 
manuscripts of my systematic theology lectures into kanji, the normal Japanese 
script. A number of the lectures were revised and expanded. Altogether they 
treated thirteen topics: revelation, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, crea- 
tion, providence, sin, the atonement, the conditions of salvation, the nature of 
salvation, the church, and eschatology. I had these manuscripts reproduced in 
offset print and distributed to the students, and used them as a sort of text which I 
explained and expanded in more spontaneous lectures as I began to acquire more 
freedom in the language. 

Before long I had earned my reputation as the absentminded professor. This 
reputation spread throughout the university, the mission, and the convention, and 
has been preserved intact until now. 

In the summer of 1954, we had our first Mission Meeting at Amagi Assembly, the 
"little Ridgecrest" of the Japan Baptist Convention. Ten acres of land for the 
assembly had been provided the previous year by the Tokyo Military Fellowship. 
Since the facilities at Amagi were Japanese style, I had placed my shoes in the 
getabako (shoe rack) at the entrance of the building, and all week had used the 
slippers provided by the assembly. At the close of the mission meeting, we 
boarded chartered buses at the genkan (entrance) and headed for Numazu Sta- 
tion, where we were to catch the train to go our separate ways. When Gena 
Calcote stood up on the bus to get something, she looked at my feet and asked 
with great surprise, "Bob, where are your shoes?" Then I realized that I had on 
the Amagi Assembly slippers and that I had left my shoes in the shoe rack at 
Amagi. Having no shoes to wear, I made the twenty-one hour train trip back to 
Fukuoka in slippers while my embarrassed daughter stayed as far away from me 
as possible. 

One year I was teaching two Christianity classes at the main campus of the uni- 
versity in Nishijin. On Tuesday mornings at 9:25 1 had a class of second-year stu- 
dents on the second floor and on Wednesdays at the same hour a class of third- 
year students on the third floor. Since these were one-hour classes instead of the 
usual two-hour ones, they began forty-five minutes after the other classes had 
started. 

Arriving at my class right on time one morning, I opened the door and walked 
toward the desk. Midway I stopped in my tracks, since another professor was sit- 
ting at the desk and teaching a group of students who obviously were not mine. 
The other professor was no less surprised than I about this situation. 

"When does this class end?" I asked rather awkwardly. 

"At 10:10," he answered politely. 

I could feel indignation rising within me. 10:10? Why, that is the time my class is 
supposed to be over. I wonder why this professor has decided to take my class- 



98 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

room today without getting my permission, I thought to myself. Then I remem- 
bered. The mistake was mine, not his. Tuesday had been a holiday. On Wednes- 
day morning I had walked into my Tuesday morning classroom. My face flushed 
with embarrassment as I apologized profusely and backed out of the classroom. 

Whenever an umbrella or coat was left at school, usually someone would sug- 
gest that it belonged to Culpepper-sensei. Also, when anyone who was closely 
associated with me would forget something, Kay would warn him to be careful 
because my absentmindedness is like a contagious disease. Many stories circu- 
lated about my forgetfulness, some of them not even true. I never could under- 
stand why these apocryphal stories arose, since the abundance of true ones 
rendered them quite superfluous. 

Shortly before we were married I had asked Kay to promise to find what I lose 
and to remember what I forget, and she had said very glibly that she would. Some- 
times when I would remind her that she was not keeping this promise too well, 
she would answer, "But I had no idea it would be anything like this!" 

During our first year in Fukuoka, Kay taught English two mornings a week at 
Seinan Gakuin Junior High School. There were no children in the neighborhood 
with whom Cathy could play, and she became lonesome being left with our 
helper. Therefore, Kay received permission for her to attend the Seinan church 
kindergarten, though Cathy was only three years old. Cathy liked it so well that 
she begged to go every day, and this request was also granted. 

Upon completing his Th.M. work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 
Professor Kondo returned to Japan from his sabbatical in the U.S. on August 20, 
1954. Having already received considerable acclaim in theological circles in Japan 
for the publication a few years earlier of his book God and Man in the Theology of 
Karl Earth, he had written his thesis in Louisville on The Problem of Imago Dei in 
the Theology of Earth and Brunner. When he returned, he was already quite sick 
with cancer. His condition was such that only family members and his closest 
friends were allowed to see him. 

Professor Kondo died at 8:30 AM October 3, at the Kyushu University Hospital. 
During the night before the morning on which he died, he cried "Shori! Shori! 
Amen!" ("Victory! Victory! Amen!") and lapsed into a coma. The doctor attending 
him at the time, not being a Christian, reported his words without understanding 
their meaning. But anyone who is a Christian understands that in the dark night of 
death there is victory in Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought light 
and immortality to light through the gospel. The death of Professor Kondo meant 
that for a time I was the only professor of theology in the seminary. 

Shortly before the Copelands returned from furlough, we moved into the large 
two-story house on the university campus that James and Alma Wood had occu- 



SEMINARY TEACHING 99 

pied before leaving for furlough. This brought me closer to my seminary classes, 
because until the fall of 1955 all seminary classes were held on the university 
campus three miles away from the seminary dormitory. The completion of a new 
building annexed to the men's dormitory, however, made it possible for the 
seminary to have its classes and chapel services on the campus in Hoshiguma, 
the name of the area where the twenty-six-acre tract of land used by the seminary 
was located. The new building consisted of administrative offices, a chapel, class- 
rooms, library facilities, and faculty offices. 

For me, teaching in the seminary meant more than teaching theology. It meant 
teaching students. I recognized that my effectiveness as a teacher would depend 
as much on how I related to the students outside of the classroom as it did on how 
well I taught. Since the number of students for the five-year program (two of liberal 
arts studies, three of theological training) has never exceeded sixty, it has been 
possible to know each student personally. Having the students in our home 
proved to be one of the most meaningful ways of getting to know them better. 

In the spring of 1954, we invited the graduates to our home for dinner. After 
dinner, while we were engaged in informal conversation, the sole Korean student 
in the seminary shocked us and the other students with a blast that went like this: 

"You missionaries think you are something, don't you? You are so proud and 
puffed up, living in your big houses and driving around in your big cars!" 

This student was a loner. The seminary transported the students back and forth 
from the seminary dormitory to the university campus in a van, but he seldom 
used it. Most of the time he chose to walk by himself. A number of times I had 
passed him in the car and offered him a ride, but he had always refused, saying 
that he wanted to walk. 

In this situation God gave me the grace not to become defensive or fight back. I 
realized that I was not in a position to evaluate the truth or the falsehood of the 
charge. The one thing I recognized immediately was that I had failed to win the 
confidence of this student. 

Tears came into my eyes as I said, "Please forgive me. It is obvious that I have 
failed you. I pray that God will take away my pride and make me truly humble. The 
houses we live in and the cars we drive do not belong to us but have been sup- 
plied through the sacrifices and gifts of Southern Baptists. It is our prayer that we 
will not use them selfishly but that we will dedicate them to the Lord for his serv- 
ice." Then I led a prayer asking the Lord to forgive me for my failure to relate to 
the students properly and to cleanse my heart of all pride and make me truly hum- 
ble in his service. When this prayer time was over there was hardly a dry eye in the 
group. 

Though I said nothing about this incident, news of what had happened circu- 



100 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

lated rapidly among the students and university faculty members. After this a 
number of students and fellow teachers came to me to apologize. I was deeply 
grateful, though, for the service this student had rendered me. He had made me 
deeply conscious of the need for being a bridge to dispel any misunderstanding 
that might exist between missionaries and those who would be leaders in the 
churches. Shortly after this the Korean student returned to his country. Though I 
have seen him only twice since then, I have received a Christmas card from him 
each year. 

This incident also pointed up the importance of having an open home. Since 
that time, except for the times we have been on furlough, we have entertained 
every graduating class. When I see these former students from time to time, they 
seldom comment on my teaching, but they speak frequently of how much they 
enjoyed my wife's cooking and the warmth of our home. 

This experience also gave us a heightened sensitivity to the problems created 
by the difference in the standards of living between missionaries and the Japa- 
nese pastors. Year by year we have watched the gap narrow. Though still larger 
than theirs, our homes have become considerably smaller through the years. We 
are grateful also that a large percentage of the pastors now have automobiles, 
while those who do not usually have motorbikes. The missionary no longer re- 
ceives a salary that places him in the upper brackets of Japanese society. With 
the burgeoning of Japan's economy, the rising Japanese standard of living, and 
the declining value of the dollar, I think it is true to say that the missionary no 
longer projects the image of kanemochi, Mr. Money-bags. 

Participating in seminary-sponsored excursions, playing softball and Ping-Pong 
with the students, talking with them at school and in our home, I sought to know 
them better. Several impressed me particularly. One of these was Kenji Fujii. I 
met Fujii-san soon after I came to the seminary while he was a patient in a hospital 
in the city. Having just come from Tokyo to enter Seinan University as a freshman 
and a ministerial student, he had been forced to drop out of school for a time for 
an eye operation, not to restore his eyesight but to alleviate the pain. 

The trouble with his eyes had begun with a bicycle accident when he was six, 
years old. This had caused the loss of one eye, but he still had the other one. 
Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, he learned to use braille. Gradually 
the other eye was affected, but he still retained some eyesight. 

His first contact with the church came during his high school days, when he 
went there to sing hymns. Here he heard various Bible teachings, including John 
8:12 in which Jesus says: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall 
not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." These words made little 
impression on him at the time. Not liking what he heard about man being a sinner, 



SEMINARY TEACHING 101 

and believing he could get along on his own power, he soon stopped going to 
church. 

All of this changed, though, when he suddenly lost the sight in his other eye. 
Plunged into total darkness, he was filled with despair, and lost his appetite for 
food, for people, and for life itself. Then a group of Sunday School children visited 
his school on Flower Day, a day in the Japanese churches when the children bring 
flowers to be distributed to patients in the hospitals and to others who might be 
encouraged by such an expression of love and concern. When he told one of the 
teachers of his desire to go to church, a lady from the Mejiro ga Oka Baptist 
Church started coming by for him every Sunday to take him with her. Neither rain, 
wind, nor snow kept her from this service. 

By now Fujii-san had come to realize his own weakness. He came to see that his 
thinking he could get along without God is itself what the Bible means by sin. 
Then the message of John 8:12 came home to him. Realizing that Jesus is indeed 
the Light of the world, he opened his heart to Christ and let Christ's light flood his 
life. Now he had new joy, peace, and hope. At the blind school he had been trying 
to prepare himself to become a teacher. Now he realized that what he wanted to 
do more than anything was to prepare himself to preach the message that can 
change human life and give hope amid despair. 

When I had the opportunity to get to know Fujii-san in the classroom, I discov- 
ered that he was a very good student. Throughout the class period he took 
copious notes in braille. He also took his exams in braille and then read his papers 
to me so I could correct them. Upon being graduated from the seminary, he 
engaged in pioneer evangelism in a young mission in the suburbs of Fukuoka. 
Under his leadership this mission was organized in 1966 as the Kasumi ga Oka 
Baptist Church. He has continued to serve this church and minister effectively 
through the help of his devoted wife, whom he married a year after finishing his 
seminary work. 

Another student whose life and testimony made a deep impression on me was 
Naoki Noguchi. One thing that I noticed was that he was always befriending Fujii- 
san. During the Christmas season in 1954, while we were living on the university 
campus in the Woods' house, we had a dinner party for the members of the Bible 
class taught by Pearl Todd, a former China missionary, who lived next door. It was 
at this party that Noguchi-san gave his testimony with such quiet winsomeness. 

Until the end of World War II, Noguchi-san had lived with his family in North 
Korea, but at the close of the war he and his family were repatriated to Japan. 
Before long his father contracted an illness that led to his death in 1946. Shortly 
thereafter, Noguchi-san went with his mother to Ueno Station in Tokyo to catch a 
train to Yamagata to bury his father's ashes in the cemetery alongside other 



102 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

members of his family. While waiting for a train he saw a man who was selling 
Bibles. This man spoke very earnestly about the Bible: "You need this book. It will 
show you the way of life and give you hope." 

For three days Noguchi-san had not eaten. In his pocket he had enough money 
to buy some baked sweet potatoes. Should he buy the potatoes or buy a Bible? 
Faced with this choice, he finally decided to buy the Bible and as a special prize 
was given an English New Testament. He began reading the Bible but did not 
understand it very well, for it was the classical version (the only translation avail- 
able in those days), which was written in Japanese far more quaint than the Eng- 
lish of our King James Version. Nevertheless, certain passages of Scripture 
gripped him and gave him comfort. One of these was Matthew 6:26: "Behold the 
fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet 
your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" 

Later when Noguchi-san and his mother moved south to Shimonoseki, he saw 
an announcement one day about an English Bible class taught by Elizabeth 
Watkins. Remembering his English New Testament, which he had never learned 
to read, he started attending this Bible class. It was through the patient, loving 
witness of this dedicated missionary that he was led to the Lord. What impressed 
me most about his testimony was his having chosen to buy a Bible instead of 
some sweet potatoes, even when he had been without food for three days. Upon 
being graduated from the seminary, he was called back to Shimonoseki, where he 
had met the Lord, to become pastor of the Shimonoseki Baptist Church. 



12 
Early Evangelistic Opportunities 



About two months before we moved to Fukuoka in the spring of 1953, the third 
Baptist church in the area was organized. Now there are twenty. Since the newly 
organized Higashi Fukuoka Baptist Church was located a good distance from our 
house, we never gave serious consideration to joining it. We moved our member- 
ship to the Fukuoka Church instead of the Seinan Gakuin Church located near the 
university campus, because there were fewer missionaries associated with it and 
we felt that it was through this church that we could make our best contribution. 

The second oldest of our Baptist churches on the island of Kyushu, where our 
work had largely been concentrated before the war, it was constituted as a church 
in 1901, only twelve years after the arrival of the first Southern Baptist mission- 
aries to Japan. Toshio Miyoshi, dean of the seminary and professor of Old Testa- 
ment, was the pastor, but the assistant pastor, a young man named Sadao Sekiya, 
did most of the preaching. A few years earlier, responding to the Lord's call, he 
had left medical school to enter the seminary and prepare for the ministry. As far 
as Japanese society was concerned, that was forsaking one of the most re- 
spected vocations for one of the least appreciated ones. 

We found a warm, congenial church home in the Fukuoka Church. One Sunday 
Toshio Shimoda gave his confession of faith and was baptized. His Christian wife 
had been a strong influence in causing him to see his need of Christ. At the close 
of this service a Christian lady whose non-Christian husband had died a few 
months before told my wife in tears: "Mrs. Shimoda did what I was not able to do. 
She led her husband to the Lord." 

A few months later a junior high school student, Akira Shimoda, followed the 
course that his father and mother had taken before him and confessed his faith in 
Christ and was baptized. I remember quite well how the church members were 
rejoicing because of the powerful demonstration of the value of a Christian home. 
This episode highlighted for me one of the major differences between American 
churches and Japanese churches at that time. In most American churches the 
vast majority of baptisms were of children reared in Christian homes, but in Japa- 

103 



104 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

nese churches where Christian homes were relatively scarce this was not the 
case. 

During my first few months in Fukuoka, I attended the Fukuoka Church regu- 
larly, but the only church-related responsibility I had was that of preaching there 
once a month. When the George Hays family returned to the United States for 
their first furlough in the summer of 1953, however, I was asked to accept a num- 
ber of George's responsibilities. One of these was preaching once a month at 
Wakiyama, a little farming village about eight miles west of the seminary. About 
three years earlier this mission of the Fukuoka Church had been established 
under the leadership of Marion Moorhead and Toshio Miyoshi. Each Saturday 
evening about ten people assembled for a service in the home of Dr. Matsuda, a 
highly respected general practitioner in the community. Mrs. Matsuda was a 
Christian, but her husband was not. Mamoru Fukazawa, a seminary student, 
spoke there each week except when I or some other visitor was present. 

There was one baptism from this group during the eighteen months or so that I 
was associated with it. As the years passed, some of the key leaders moved away 
and attendance declined considerably until finally, after about fifteen years, regu- 
lar services in the community were discontinued. In some ways, it seems to have 
been an unfruitful work. And yet, the year after I stopped working with the mis- 
sion, Seiro Komoda, the principal of the local high school, was baptized, and a few 
years later Dr. Matsuda also. I had witnessed personally very earnestly to these 
two men. Before long, Dr. Matsuda moved to Okinawa and became very active in 
Christian witness through a Baptist church there. Not long after his conversion, 
Komoda-san moved to Fukuoka and since that time has served the Lord faithfully 
through two Baptist churches. 

Another responsibility I accepted from George was that of going one Sunday 
afternoon a month to Koga, about twenty miles northeast of Fukuoka. The major 
witness here was in a tubercular sanitorium under the leadership of Pastor 
Suehara Yoshiwara. As a boy of fourteen, Yoshiwara-san had contracted tubercu- 
losis and had struggled with the disease ever since. He looked like a walking 
skeleton, for one lung and six ribs on one side of his body had been removed. 
Since this was before the days of the wonder drugs that have been so effective in 
the treatment of tuberculosis, the prescribed remedy was that of extended bed 
rest. Yoshiwara-sensei knew from experience the kind of despair that grips one 
when school studies, professional advancement, and marriage and family plans 
have to be sacrificed as one lies helpless, flat on his back. He knew also the hope 
that Christ can give in such a situation and was able to communicate this to the 
patients. My responsibility was preaching there once a month and visiting on the 
wards. 



EARLY EVANGELISTIC OPPORTUNITIES 105 

My most challenging evangelistic opportunity was that of preaching once a 
month at the little Baptist church on the island of Iki between Kyushu and Korea. 
The Baptist witness on this little island of sixty thousand people had been begun 
by Marion Moorhead in the spring of 1952, a few months before he left Fukuoka to 
begin pioneer evangelism in Sapporo, the largest city on the northern island, 
Hokkaido. 

Leaving from Hakata Port (Fukuoka) at 8:00 AM on Sundays, I made the four- 
hour trip by ship. Often in the afternoons I visited in the tubercular hospital where 
Dr. Yamagata, the leading deacon of the church, was superintendent. Then in the 
evening I preached at the church. Spending Sunday nights in the home of Dr. and 
Mrs. Yamagata, I slept under a mosquito net on warm nights. Most of the time only 
one heavy futon (quilt) was supplied. Much of the time when it was too hot to sleep 
under the quilt and too cold to sleep without it, I struggled with the cover through- 
out the night, throwing it on and off. Monday morning I would get up early to catch 
the eight o'clock ship back to Fukuoka. 

The second-class passengers were placed in a large room with a tatami (straw 
mat) floor. As space allowed, we could lie down on the tatami and use for a pillow 
a block of wood covered by a padded piece of leather. On one of these trips an old 
man, whom I would judge to have been in his seventies, engaged me in conversa- 
tion. Learning that I was a Christian, he announced proudly: "My destiny is much 
greater than yours. When I die, I will become a god (kami)." 

Taken by surprise by the confident way in which he spoke of his faith, I replied 
with no less confidence: "If. as you believe, you and other Japanese people like 
you (Shintoists) will become gods when you die, being a god doesn't mean much, 
does it? Since there are many gods, they are not absolute, you see. But. if as I 
believe, one who trusts in Christ becomes a child of the one God, then this is a 
meaningful thing indeed. For we are all children of the one Father united in his 
family." 

Once Kay and Cathy made the trip with me. It was a beautiful trip going to the 
island, but a strong wind blew all Sunday afternoon and night, and the next morn- 
ing the ship, which we normally would have taken, did not leave port because of 
the storm. However, when we learned that a smaller vessel was sailing to a point 
on Kyushu some distance from Fukuoka, we decided to take that ship rather than 
stay over in Iki another day. The little ship seemed like a cork bobbing up and 
down in the huge waves. Kay had a terrible case of seasickness during the entire 
voyage, but Cathy thought the excitement of the rough sea was great fun. The 
cabin boy did not help matters by stopping by every few minutes with his not too 
optimistic prophecy, "Don't worry. We're going to make it, I think." It was his 
words "I think" that bothered us. 



106 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

One Sunday afternoon as I was visiting in the tubercular hospital on the island I 
met Mario Matsufuji. Matsufuji-san had accepted Christ in 1948 and four years 
later had entered the seminary to prepare for the ministry. Shortly after entering 
the seminary, he discovered that he had tuberculosis. Therefore, he had to drop 
out of school and enter a hospital. When I met him in the hospital at Iki, Matsufuji- 
san did not talk much of himself, but he spoke very excitedly about Suzuki-san. 

Suzuki-san and her husband had been very active in the Communist movement 
until she contracted tuberculosis and had to be hospitalized. As so often happens 
in such cases, her husband, wanting a healthy wife instead of a sick one, divorced 
her and married another woman. In the midst of such circumstances, while a pa- 
tient in the hospital at Iki, Suzuki-san heard the gospel and opened her heart to 
Christ. 

In the fall of 1952, Charles Whaley went to the island of Iki in connection with the 
convention's "New Birth Campaign." The two previous years teams had come 
from America for preaching missions, but this year similar meetings were held 
with Japanese pastors and missionaries serving as the preachers. After one of 
the services at the hospital Suzuki-san said in a voice so weak that it was barely 
audible: "I did not come here to learn about Christ, but now that he has come into 
my life I cannot live without him." 

Matsufuji-san told me that Suzuki-san had accepted Christ about twenty months 
earlier, but that she had been too weak to be baptized. Nevertheless, she had 
written out her confession of faith and had had someone read it for her at church. 
Matsufuji-san explained that despite her weak physical condition she was living a 
radiant Christian life in the hospital, and her testimony was attracting the attention 
of many to Christ's power to save. When I requested the privilege of meeting this 
lady, he led me to her room and introduced me to her. 

"Suzuki-san, I have just been hearing from Matsufuji-san of your testimony," I 
said. "Won't you share that testimony with me?" 

"I have committed everything to the Lord Jesus," she answered. "My heart is 
filled with the joy and peace of Christ. I just wish that everyone in this hospital 
knew the joy and peace in Christ that I know." 

"That reminds me of a passage of Scripture," I responded. Then, opening my 
Japanese Bible, I read Philippians 4:6-7: "In nothing be anxious; but in everything 
by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known 
unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard 
your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus" (ASV). 

When I had finished reading this passage, she pointed to a plaque on the wall of 
her hospital room with those same words written in Japanese. Pointing to a 
plaque on another wall on which the twenty-third Psalm was inscribed, she quoted 



EARLY EVANGELISTIC OPPORTUNITIES 107 

verse 4: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear 
no evil: for thou art with me. . . . " Then she added, "I'm always thinking about 
those words." 

The radiance of Suzuki-san's life concealed from me the seriousness of her 
physical condition. Thus I was shocked to receive word a couple of months later 
that she had died. When I was asked to conduct the funeral, naturally I began to 
inquire about the circumstances of her death. 

One of the doctors in the hospital had become aware of the fact that for Suzuki- 
san the end was near. Though he himself was not a Christian, he had enough 
understanding of the Christian faith to have someone of her faith near her at the 
end. The doctor asked Matsufuji-san to go to her bedside, and he in turn called 
upon Mrs. Muramatsu, a Christian nurse in the hospital, to join him there. They 
sang hymns, read Scripture, and prayed. Holding a wooden cross in her hands, 
Suzuki-san uttered the word heian (peace) and closed her eyes. As the two Chris- 
tians standing by her sang "Nearer My God to Thee," Suzuki-san went to be with 
her Lord. There was no fear in her heart, only a deep joy and peace. 

Suzuki-san had few things the world regards as of most value. She had lost her 
health and her husband. She had no wealth, few friends, and no immediate family. 
Yet she had that which is of supreme value— the forgiveness of sins, the peace of 
God in her heart, and a hope for eternity. It was not difficult to preach her funeral. 
What a joy to proclaim a gospel that can give such hope and victory in the face of 
the bleakest outward circumstances! 

It is sad to report that to my knowledge there are no worship services now at the 
Iki Church. The little frame building is still there, but it is seldom used. In the 
spring of 1955, 1 became involved in starting a new mission in Fukuoka. After this, 
for a time a pastor, a missionary, or a seminary student visited Iki occasionally, 
but none of these ministered to this little community on a regular basis. One by 
one the members moved away and attendance at the services dwindled. Among 
those who moved away were Mr. and Mrs. Tsuneo Muramatsu, who came to 
Fukuoka to enter the seminary. Both of them had been won to Christ through the 
ministry of this church. Since seminary days, they have had many fruitful years in 
the ministry in several churches. Finally, Dr. and Mrs. Yamagata, who through the 
years had been the mainstay of the Iki Church, left the island also, and regular 
services were discontinued. Dr. Yamagata has indicated that he wants to move 
back to Iki in the near future to retire and serve the Lord in ministry through the Iki 
Church. 

About the same time we came to Fukuoka so I could teach in the seminary, the 
Watsons, with whom we had made the trip to Japan, moved into a new house built 
for them in Miyazaki. Their assignment was evangelism in Miyazaki prefecture on 



108 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

the southwestern tip of the island of Kyushu. They were to work in partnership 
with Pastor Zenkichi Hotai, a devout preacher with a Holiness background who 
during the early postwar years had become a Baptist. Through the influence of the 
Watsons, I received an invitation to preach in some special evangelistic services 
in that area in March of 1954. 

Thrilled with this opportunity, I began to prepare for it with fear and trembling. I 
had never preached in revivals before, not even in America. These services were 
to be in Japanese, and I was just one year out of language school. With Matsu- 
moto-sensei's help I wrote out my sermons in Japanese and studied them until I 
had virtually memorized them. 

On Friday and Saturday nights, March 12-13, 1 preached at the Aoshima Mission 
of the Miyazaki Church, on Sunday morning to the congregation of the Miyazaki 
Church, and Sunday evening in a concluding service at Aoshima. The services on 
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings were at Kami ho Kita, another mis- 
sion of the Miyazaki Church. The attendance at each of these services was very 
good, as was the response to the invitation each time it was given. Kay and Cathy 
accompanied me on this trip. During these days we stayed in the Watson home 
and enjoyed fellowship with Les, Hazel, and Beth, and with their son David, who 
had been born in Japan. 

Aoshima, where the first series of meetings was held, is a little fishing village. 
The area is a famous tourist attraction because of the little green island off its 
coast which is noted for its tropical and semitropicai plant life. The services here 
each evening were in an old theater, and the people who assembled sat on their 
feet on straw mats spread on the dirt floor. There is still a witness in this commu- 
nity, but in comparison with the work in Kami ho Kita it has not thrived, for it has 
lacked sustained, strong pastoral leadership. 

As I started repeating at the next place the sermons I had used at Aoshima, 
Pastor Hotai gave me a gentle rebuke by suggesting that I should preach more on 
the cross. Though I had mentioned the cross in every sermon, in none of them 
was it a central emphasis. I felt ashamed that I had had to be reminded to place 
major emphasis on that which is central in the Christian faith. I did not have time to 
prepare a separate sermon on the cross, but from then on I did try to make it as 
clear as I could that the salvation which we have in Christ is based upon this 
atoning death on the cross. 

In Kami ho Kita our meetings were held in a day-care center. Before that first 
service on Monday evening, Pastor Hotai led me to the village cemetery and 
pointed out the grave of Mrs. Toyoaki Yamada. This grave was conspicuous in this 
cemetery, for I think it was the only one marked by a cross. Then he related the 
story of the lady who was buried there. 



EARLY EVANGELISTIC OPPORTUNITIES 109 

At the close of the war the Yamadas were repatriated to Japan from Taiwan 
where they had been living. Settling in this rural community on the southwestern 
tip of the southern island, Yamada-san became an English teacher in the junior 
high school, while his wife gave herself to homemaking. Shortly after the birth of 
their fourth child, Mrs. Yamada contracted tuberculosis. Unable to receive hos- 
pitalization, for several years she was a patient in the home. Now in addition to his 
work at school, Yamada-sensei had the responsibility for taking care of his sick 
wife and their four children. 

During the course of Mrs. Yamada's illness, Pastor Hotai heard of her condition 
and began to visit her. He would read passages of Scripture, tell her stories of 
Jesus, introduce her to Christian hymns, and pray for her. As he visited her again 
and again, the Holy Spirit opened her heart to the Word, and she received Christ 
as her personal Savior. But her husband, claiming to be an atheist, opposed her 
faith. "There is no god," he said. "There can be no god, for if there is a god, why 
are you sick like this, and why are the children and I having to participate in your 
suffering?" 

Mrs. Yamada did not argue with her husband but instead presented him with the 
most powerful argument of all— the demonstration of a transformed life. Before 
becoming a Christian she had been nagging and complaining. Filled with self-pity, 
she had always been seeking comfort. Now instead of seeking comfort from 
others, she began to communicate it to them. Noticing the change that had taken 
place in his wife, Yamada-sensei wondered why she was so different, and she 
explained that it was because Jesus had come into her heart. 

Gradually Mrs. Yamada's physical condition grew worse, but during this time 
she did not lose the spiritual radiance that had come to her through Christ. Before 
dying she grasped the hand of her husband and asked him to receive Christ and 
carry on the faith. He promised that he would. He not only received Christ, but 
after his wife's death he opened his home to the preaching of the gospel. Though 
our three meetings were held in a day-care center, Yamada-sensei's home was 
the regular meeting place for Christian services in the community. 

A few years later, Yamada-sensei married again and moved to Fukuoka, where 
he became a teacher of English and shodo, Japanese brush writing, in Seinan 
Gakuin Junior High School. Later he became principal of this school, where he 
served until his retirement in the spring of 1977. For many years he has been a 
deacon in the Seinan Gakuin Baptist Church. 

Ordinarily, rural evangelism in Japan is very difficult. Old superstitions and 
Japanese religions make it extremely difficult for the people to break out of the 
web of the old life which holds them like spider's victims. A number of missions 
and witnessing places begun in rural Japan in the early postwar years have long 



110 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

since gone out of existence, but the witness in Kami ho Kita has continued and 
thrived. 

The secret of this successful witness is that in 1959, upon his graduation from 
the seminary, Toshiro Yamashita moved to this community and literally planted 
himself in it. Being himself a product of rural Japan, he felt a call to rural evan- 
gelism, one of the most neglected ministries in the total Christian witness in this 
country. The church now has a building and a pastorium, and Yamashita-sensei 
himself has a garden where he raises vegetables to feed his family and supple- 
ment the family income as well as to deepen his identification with the people in 
this rural community. 

In the fall of 1954, while we were living on the university campus, we received a 
cablegram saying that Daddy had suffered a severe heart attack and that his con- 
dition was critical. Right away I called home and was able to talk with my brother 
James. Daddy was in an oxygen tent at the hospital, and Mother was by his side. 
The doctors were not at all sure that Daddy would be able to pull through. He was 
fifty-six at the time and for several years had been suffering from high blood pres- 
sure. 

This was before intercontinental flights had become the accepted thing, so 
there was no thought of returning to the United States in times of such emergen- 
cies. And then, as today, the board had no financial provision for such trips. 

Feeling a deep helplessness because we could not be with our family members 
at this time and share the burdens with them, we prayed for Daddy, committing 
him to God's loving care. Following Paul's instructions in Philippians 4:6-7, we 
also claimed the promise that goes with that command: "In nothing be anxious; 
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests 
be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understand- 
ing, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus" (ASV). Gradually, 
Daddy's condition improved, and after about a month he was released from the 
hospital. We are truly grateful that God spared him for another fourteen years of 
fruitful service. 

The meeting at Hakone where I had given the lecture on contemporary theology 
was the first Pastors' and Missionaries' Conference that I was privileged to at- 
tend. Though this meeting now is a biannual one, in the early postwar years it was 
held annually, and I attended it regularly. For a number of years discussions in 
this meeting centered around "the missionary problem." 

This was something of a shock to most of us missionaries, since we had come 
to Japan to try to solve problems, not to create them. The psychology of the 
Japanese pastors at that time, though, was not difficult to understand. With the 
large influx of missionaries in the early postwar years, the pastors were greatly 



EARLY EVANGELISTIC OPPORTUNITIES 111 

outnumbered. At this conference of Christian workers in their own land, they were 
engulfed by a sea of foreign faces. Though we missionaries were eager to serve, 
the language problem posed a severe limitation on what we could do and ham- 
pered effective communication with the pastors. The shallowness of our under- 
standing of Japanese life, psychology, and customs also compounded the prob- 
lem. 

Although the pastors welcomed us to Japan, there was still "the missionary 
problem"— the question of what to do with us now that we were here. Gradually, 
though, this situation began to change. As more and more students were gradu- 
ated from the seminary, the imbalance between missionaries and pastors was 
corrected. Also, the more we missionaries learned to use the Japanese language 
and understand the Japanese people, the deeper our level of communication with 
the pastors became. Gradually, as "the missionary problem" faded, our attention 
was directed to the question of how we could join hands together in seeking to 
win Japan to Christ. 



13 

The Beginning of the Hirao Church 

and Our First Furlough 



During our first term of service in Japan we moved into five different houses— 
the Lutheran duplex, the house on the Nishi-Okubo compound, the Copeland 
house near the seminary, the Wood house on the university campus, and, finally, 
at the end of January in 1955, into a house in Hirao built for us by the Japan Mis- 
sion. 

It had been our hope before moving to Fukuoka to build a new house in an area 
where there was no church and to use our home as a meeting place in starting a 
new church. This had been delayed to give us time to get acquainted with the city 
and the churches. 

After consulting with the pastors in the area and the Japanese professors on 
the seminary faculty, we decided in the spring of 1954 to look for land in the 
Takamiya area on the south side of the city. Although we searched for property in 
this area for six months, we were unable to find anything suitable that could be 
purchased within the budget. Then, through the family of a seminary graduate, we 
were shown a very desirable piece of land in Hirao, a section on the south side of 
the city not quite as far out as Takamiya. This we purchased with funds provided 
by the Foreign Mission Board. In retrospect, I feel that our failure to find land in 
Takamiya was providential. Since there was already a large Catholic church in that 
area, we would have been forced constantly to justify our existence in view of the 
church which was already there. We did not face this problem in Hirao, where 
there was no church of any kind. 

The house that had stood on this 280-tsubo lot (a tsubo is thirty-six square feet) 
had been destroyed by a fire bomb during the war. The banker who lived there had 
built a small shack on the property to use until he could move his family to better 
quarters. The sale of this lot enabled him to purchase a smaller plot of land with a 
suitable house already on it. For a lot in urban Japan, the one we bought afforded 
an unusual degree of privacy. A corner lot on a hill, it had streets on the north 
(front) and west sides and high stone retaining walls on the south and west sides. 

The lot also had four fruit trees, each of a different kind— mandarin orange, 

112 



THE BEGINNING OF THE HIRAO CHURCH AND OUR FIRST FURLOUGH 113 

peach, persimmon, and fig. We looked forward to the bonus of the fruit we would 
enjoy. But the mandarin orange tree, we soon discovered, was of the nonbearing 
variety. The peaches were so small and sour that they could not be eaten. The 
persimmons also were the sour, nonedible kind. The fig tree, worm-eaten as it 
was, bore a little fruit, but not much. I have often wondered if the Lord doesn't 
look at our unfruitful lives with the same kind of disappointment that we felt toward 
those unfruitful trees. 

On this lot we built a 50-tsubo house (1,800 square feet) for a missionary resi- 
dence with funds obtained from the FMB. The attic room was planned as a meet- 
ing place for the young mission. The living room, dining room, study, one of the 
bedrooms, and, at times, the kitchen, were to serve as Sunday School space. 

Now we felt ourselves to be a part of the Japanese community in a way we had 
not in any of the previous places we had lived. The first thing we did was to visit all 
of the homes in the immediate neighborhood to give our aisatsu (greeting) and 
present a small gift. This was in keeping with Japanese custom. 

There are a number of ways of launching a new mission. The easiest way, per- 
haps, is for a group of believers who already live in a particular area to form the 
nucleus of a mission in that area under the mother church's sponsorship. Since 
there were no members of the Fukuoka Church living in the Hirao area, however, 
we did not have the benefit of such a nucleus of believers. But we were blessed 
from the beginning with the assistance of three youthful seminary students: 
Nobuo Watanabe, Kiyoshi Tanigawa, and Takako Yukawa. These three students 
(two men and a woman) worked with Kay and me as a team in projecting the work 
of the new mission. 

The Hirao Mission of the Fukuoka Baptist Church was launched officially 
through a series of evangelistic services on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday eve- 
nings the last week in February, just a month after we had moved into the new 
house. The evangelist was Shuichi Ozaki, a highly gifted pastor who had served as 
the first president of the Japan Baptist Convention and who was at that time Pro- 
fessor of New Testament in the seminary. 

We visited every home in the Hirao area near our house, giving out handbills 
telling of the series of special meetings and of the regular Sunday services to fol- 
low. Using loud speakers on a car, we announced the services to a little wider 
area. As a result of these efforts, twenty or thirty people attended each evening 
and became the nucleus for services on continuing Sundays. Week by week we 
sought to build up the attendance through house-to-house visitation. The hymns, 
the Scripture, the prayers, the sermons— all of these were new to the majority of 
people who attended. 

For the first nine months we had Sunday School for the children each Sunday 



114 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

afternoon and an evangelistic service in the evening. Kay usually provided the 
evening meal for the students who worked with us. This schedule allowed us to 
continue our work with the Fukuoka Church on Sunday mornings. After about nine 
months we reaped the first fruits of our labors in a baptismal service for four at the 
Fukuoka Baptist Church. 

Now the time had come for some changes. A morning service was needed, we 
felt. Our neighborhood was dark at night, and our house was hard to find. More- 
over, for the most part in Japan evening services were not very popular. 

Other changes were also needed, we concluded, in the method of receiving 
new members. Baptist churches in Japan then as now followed the practice of 
having each new convert write out his or her confession of faith and read it before 
the membership of the church. Usually the pastor held a converts' class for sev- 
eral weeks to instruct those seeking baptism concerning the fundamentals of the 
Christian faith and assist them in the preparation of their confessions of faith. We 
felt that it would be a big boost to our little mission if the congregation were given 
authority to accept confessions of faith without their having to be given before a 
congregation of people the new converts did not know. We also believed that we 
needed a baptismal pool to allow those who had not advanced to the point of seek- 
ing baptism to see baptismal services and have the advantage of the witness 
those afforded. 

All of these requests were granted by the mother church. As we began a morn- 
ing worship service, we also shifted the Sunday School hour to the time before 
the morning worship. Now we had a full church program with Sunday School and 
two worship services on Sunday. These changes brought a decline in the attend- 
ance at the evening service, but the attendance at morning worship surpassed 
that of the evening service before the change. An English Bible Class on Tues- 
day evenings rounded out our program. Since we were no longer going to the 
Fukuoka Church for morning worship, we received authority from this church to 
administer the ordinance of the Lord's Supper as well as baptism. 

Building the baptistry in our yard was also a great boon. The activity united us in 
a common work project under the supervision of a Mr. Noda, who had been in the 
first group I had baptized. His experience in construction work was a great help. 
Several of the young people who worked so enthusiastically in building the bap- 
tistry were themselves baptized in it before many months had passed. Two of 
these, Yoshinobu Fujita and Seiya Yamashita, later entered the seminary and 
became pastors. Others who were baptized in this outdoor pool included Noriharu 
Tomono, who also entered the seminary and became a pastor, and our daughter, 
Cathy. 

While engaged in these church activities, I maintained a full schedule of teach- 



THE BEGINNING OF THE HIRAO CHURCH AND OUR FIRST FURLOUGH 115 

ing at the seminary. From time to time, I was called on for chapel messages, not 
only in the seminary but also in the university, high school, and junior high school. 

When we moved to Hirao, Cathy, after seventeen happy months in a Japanese 
kindergarten at the Seinan Church, started attending an English-language kinder- 
garten on the Itazuke Air Base Annex, about a forty-minute ride from our home. A 
regular school bus came by for her every morning, and a smaller bus brought her 
back each afternoon. 

While assisting the new mission in our home, Kay continued a limited teaching 
schedule at the Seinan Junior High School and managed during the last year be- 
fore our furlough to write Koji of Japan, a book for juniors (ages nine to twelve) 
used by Southern Baptists in missions study in 1956. 

In May of 1956, after five years and four months in Japan, which included fifteen 
months with the Hirao Mission, we returned to the United States for our first fur- 
lough. Gerald and Jo Beth Fielder agreed to work with the mission during our 
absence, while the seminary students who had started the work with us, along 
with the new members, bore the major part of the load. 

The Foreign Mission Board's policy of providing periodic furloughs for its mis- 
sionaries is beneficial. It enables the missionary to renew fellowship with family 
members and friends. A thorough physical examination is a routine part of fur- 
lough. Usually, this examination enables the missionary to discover any health 
problems that may exist so he or she can receive proper treatment. Offered an 
opportunity to report back to the people whose prayers and offerings have made it 
possible for him or her to serve the Lord in a foreign land, the missionary is faced 
with the challenge of fanning the flames of mission concern and imparting infor- 
mation and understanding of the problems involved. Furlough also provides the 
missionary with an opportunity to reflect upon the work in which he or she has 
been engaged and to prepare for more effective service in the future. 

Because of the furlough system, the missionary always has a change of sched- 
ule and environment to look forward to. When we were appointed to Japan, the 
policy of our board was to provide a year's furlough after the first five years on the 
field, and thereafter a year's furlough after each successive six years on the 
field. 1 During the last year of our first term of service in Japan, anticipations of our 
forthcoming furlough became rather strong. 

Over and over I dreamed of being back in the States and on my way to a first- 
class theological bookstore but never able to find it. Needless to say, the oppor- 
tunity of browsing in such a bookstore was one of the things that I had missed 
most. Kay's dreams, though not literal ones like mine, were of shopping in super- 
markets and department stores. A few months before the end of our furiough our 
nostalgia for Japan became equally as strong as that for the States had been. 



116 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

On board the President Cleveland from Yokohama to San Francisco in May of 
1956, we had the joy of fellowship with the Calcote and Parker families. At the 
smorgasbord lunch at the Sands on Waikiki Beach the day we were in Honolulu, 
Cathy passed up the fried chicken, roast beef, and other American-style foods 
offered and filled her plate with sushi, cold rice balls wrapped in sea weed. But we 
almost had to drag her and the other children away from the dime store, so great 
was the fascination of this novelty for them. 

After a brief but delightful visit to Yosemite Park in California, our family made a 
three-day trip by train to Richmond, Virginia. Accustomed to the crowds in the 
cities of Japan, we wondered where all the people were in American cities. The 
fact that the houses were not surrounded by high fences as they normally were in 
Japan was also a matter of new awareness to us. 

Knowing missionaries of other denominations who were related to boards that 
planned most of their furlough time for them, we were happy to be associated with 
a board that gave us freedom, within reasonable limits, to make our own plans. 
Our board did expect its missionaries to spend a certain amount of their time in 
summer camps and schools on missions, now called World Missions Confer- 
ences. While furloughing missionaries were urged to attend the Southern Baptist 
Convention, the board-sponsored furloughing missionaries conference, and 
Foreign Missions Week at either Ridgecrest or Glorieta, and even provided travel 
allowances for these meetings, such attendance was not compulsory. 

Because we desired to be near one of our families, we decided to spend our fur- 
lough year in Richmond, Virginia. For me the main attraction of Richmond was 
Union Theological Seminary (Presbyterian), though the fact that it was a much 
larger city than Tifton and the headquarters of our mission board also enhanced 
its appeal. 

We were grateful to find our families in relatively good health, but I was shocked 
to see how much Mother and Daddy, particularly Daddy, had aged. We arrived 
back in Tifton on June 14, exactly 5 1 /2 years from the time we left. Mother provided 
a birthday party for Cathy ten days later on her sixth birthday, just as she had done 
for James and me when we had celebrated that birthday. 

Cathy delighted us by running to her grandparents on both sides of the family 
and embracing them the first time she saw them. She knew they were special 
because of the gifts she had received through the years from them at Christmas 
and on birthdays and because we had talked so much about them. Yet, there were 
times when their understanding of her was less than ideal. 

One day at the breakfast table in one breath Daddy spoke of "Niggers" and 
"Japs." Bursting into tears, Cathy jumped up from the table and ran into the 
bedroom. 

"What's wrong with her?" Daddy asked, bewildered that anything he had said 



THE BEGINNING OF THE HIRAO CHURCH AND OUR FIRST FURLOUGH 117 

could be offensive. Cathy had had Japanese friends all her life, and during the last 
fifteen months had had black friends in her kindergarten class at the Itazuke Air 
Base School. She couldn't stand to hear someone she loved referring to her 
friends in such terms. 

Neither could my parents understand why Cathy was not always willing to enter- 
tain and amuse their friends by singing Japanese songs and speaking to them in 
Japanese, a language she knew they did not understand. 

The first Sunday I was back in Tifton I preached in my home church. There in her 
usual place was Mrs. I. D. Morgan, listening intently through the earphones pro- 
vided by the church. This dear lady, one of God's choicest saints, had long been 
an inspiration to me in my Christian life. Since college days I had made it a point to 
visit her each time I came to Tifton, to talk with her about the life in Christ. In her 
late seventies, Mrs. Morgan was getting quite feeble. She was almost totally blind 
and could hear only partially, even with a hearing aid. 

The day after I preached at the church Kay and I visited her. Speaking quite 
loudly into her microphone, I asked her if she had been able to hear the sermon 
the day before. I will never forget her response. "No," she said. "I couldn't hear, 
but I like to be in the Lord's house on the Lord's day with the Lord's people and 
pray that those who have ears to hear may hear." 

She told us that for years she had been praying for us by name each morning 
between 8:00 and 8:30. Thinking about this and synchronizing her time with 
Japanese time, we realized that Mrs. Morgan had been praying for us at the very 
time we had experienced the poisoning from the defective gas heater on the 
evening of January 5, 1953. 

For our living arrangements that year, we rented a small house in the Crestview 
area of Richmond and furnished it with some items purchased at a store special- 
izing in used furniture. When Cathy entered the first grade in a school in this 
neighborhood, we were thrilled to learn that her teacher was the one who had 
taught Kay in the second grade. 

Before Christmas I had speaking engagements in Georgia, Tennessee, Arkan- 
sas, Missouri, and Texas, as well as Virginia. Kay freely answered calls of 
churches in the Richmond area for messages on Japan and missions. Sometimes 
she spoke in other areas of the state also, calling upon her mother to take care of 
Cathy. 

In the fall of the year I spoke at a weekend Baptist Student Union Convention in 
Springfield, Missouri. When one of the convention speakers came down with a 
virus, he asked me to preach at his church in Little Rock, Arkansas, on the way to 
my next engagement in Georgia. Since that night was open for me, I gladly 
agreed. 

The church at which I spoke was one of the largest ones in the city of Little 



118 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Rock. Since the pastor was away, the minister of education, who had been with 
the church only a few months, presided. Just as the service was about to begin 
one of the deacons passed a note to the minister of education, and he showed it 
to me. It read: "Some Negroes are in the congregation tonight. They may want to 
cause trouble; so I suggest that you not open the doors of the church for people to 
unite with the church at the close of the service." Obviously feeling quite in- 
secure in this situation, the minister of education appealed to me, "Please don't 
let anything happen." 

He was not the only one who felt uncomfortable. I was being asked to preach on 
the universality of the gospel in a missionary message on the one hand while 
denying it by my actions on the other. It was not easy to preach in that situation. 
When the time came for an invitation, I limited it to a call for volunteers for mis- 
sionary service. My rationale (or rationalization) for pursuing that course was that 
this was not my church (though we Baptists say it is the Lord's), and I knew I 
would not be there afterwards to assume responsibility for what might happen 
should any of the blacks come forward to request church membership. 

Beginning with the new year, while continuing to preach on weekends, I spent 
most of my time during the week in private study at Union Theological Seminary. 
Since at that time the existentialist philosophy was strong in Japan and through- 
out the world, I adopted as my major project for this time the study of the acknowl- 
edged father of this movement, the nineteenth-century Danish philosopher-theo- 
logian, S0ren Kierkegaard. During some of this time I had the companionship of 
Ray Brown, who was pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in the city. The 
opportunity of renewed fellowship with Ray and Caralie, with whom we had 
enjoyed such close fellowship during seminary days, was a fringe benefit that 
living in Richmond offered us at this time. 

A few months after we returned to the States an exploratory operation on Bryan, 
their three-year-old son, revealed advanced cancer in the abdominal area of his 
body. The doctors removed as much of the cancerous tissue as possible and 
sewed up the incision. Then there followed for Ray and Caralie the long days and 
nights of watching, waiting, praying, and crying as they saw their precious child 
suffer and stood by helpless, neither able to remove the sickness nor the pain. 
How victorious and inspiring was the faith these dear friends demonstrated during 
the time when their hearts were breaking! 

The end came on Wednesday of Passion Week, and when the funeral was held 
in the Tabernacle Baptist Church on Good Friday, it was Bryan's father who led 
the service and did the preaching. I have never attended a more triumphant serv- 
ice. The notes of praise and victory resounded through it from the beginning to 



THE BEGINNING OF THE HIRAO CHURCH AND OUR FIRST FURLOUGH 119 

the end, reaching a mighty crescendo in "The Hallelujah Chorus" with which the 
service was concluded. 

In his sermon Ray discussed some of the lessons which the Lord had taught 
him and his wife through suffering. He closed the message with the stirring af- 
firmation: "In loving gratitude and in holy faith we now give up our son; not to 
death, but to a living Christ! There will be a bright tomorrow— our Lord Jesus 
Christ will bring it. ..." 

Ray and Caralie had not explained the riddle of suffering. But they had done 
something far more important. Through the presence of the living Christ they had 
found victory in the midst of it! 

The Foreign Mission Board bought from us the car we were using on furlough 
for us to use in Japan. Since Japanese customs regulations required us to have 
owned it a year in order to get it into the country without paying exorbitant taxes, 
our return to Japan was delayed a few weeks. This delay enabled Kay and me to 
participate together in the Orientation Conference for New Missionaries at Waco, 
Texas, during the first week of June. 

On June 10, 1957, nine days before we left Tifton to drive to San Francisco, my 
brother's wife, Mary, gave birth to Sara Ann Culpepper. James and Mary had been 
married twelve years when this baby came. For many years they had been praying 
for a child, but none had been given. They had announced their expectation of a 
baby's arrival while Mother, Daddy, Kay, Cathy and I were celebrating Christmas 
with them at their home in Thomaston. They did this by presenting Mother with a 
baby doll. 

"Oh, so you have completed the arrangements for adopting a baby?" Mother 
inquired, her broad smile indicating her delight at this prospect. 

"No, we are not adopting a child," Mary said. "We're having one." 

"Really? When?" 

"In June." 

All of us rejoiced together, but Mother was almost beside herself with glee. 

God's timing was perfect. Six-and-a-half years earlier when we had left Tifton 
for Japan, we had taken from Mother and Daddy their only grandchild. But this 
time they had a granddaughter whom they could enjoy throughout her childhood. 

Before returning from furlough I wrote an article on impressions of America in 
the light of five-and-a-half years in Japan and a year of furlough. In this article, 
published in the November 1957 issue of the Commission, the missions journal 
for Southern Baptists, I spoke of the materialistic orientation of America as typi- 
fied in an advertisement appearing at that time in billboards all over the country: 
"Four bedrooms, three baths, and two cars." Then, after mentioning some of the 



120 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

outward signs of a religious awakening in America, I spoke about the evidence of 
a moral decline and its implications for missions. 

The main emphasis of my article was upon the responsibility of Christians — 
particularly Southern Baptists— to take the lead in implementing Christian prin- 
ciples in race relations. I wrote: 

We are not lacking in an ideology. On the one hand there is the democratic 
ideal of equality and liberty and justice for all, wiiile on the other there is the 
Christian concept of a God who is no respecter of persons and the ideal of a 
Divine society in which there is 'neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, 
neither male nor female.' But here, as nowhere else, I believe we are con- 
fronted with a glaring contradiction between what we profess and what we 
practice .... 

If Southern Baptists do not do something constructive with regard to the 
solution of this problem, they may well discover in years to come that their 
foreign missions program among people of color abroad has been under- 
mined because of their failure to apply the principles of democracy and the 
teachings of the New Testament to the solution of this problem at home. 

All in all, we had a very good furlough and returned to our work in Japan with 
deep gratitude to God for entrusting us with this mission and to Southern Baptists 
for making it possible for us to fulfill the Lord's command in this way. 

On our voyage back to Japan aboard the President Wilson, we had the joy of fel- 
lowship with the Carl Hunker family. The Hunkers, good friends from Southern 
Seminary days, were missionaries to Taiwan, who had served a couple of years in 
mainland China before having to leave because of the Communist takeover of that 
country. Their son, David, was five years older than Cathy, and their daughter, 
Joyce Lynn, two years older. Cathy and Joyce Lynn became close friends during 
this voyage. 

When the President Wilson set sail from Yokohama on the way to Hong Kong, 
Kay, Cathy, and I were on the dock to see the Hunkers off. Then I flew to Hong 
Kong to take part in the first Orient Missions Conference held there. The seminary 
section in which I participated helped lay the groundwork for the Asia Baptist 
Graduate Theological Seminary which came into being a couple of years later. 
This seminary, which is a cooperative effort of eight Baptist seminaries in Asia- 
Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thai- 
land—will call for further discussion in a later connection. 

"The Hunkers are coming in. Let's go down to meet them," suggested some- 
one at the Orient Missions Conference. Thus when they arrived in port, I was 



THE BEGINNING OF THE HIRAO CHURCH AND OUR FIRST FURLOUGH 121 

there to greet them. Two days later, when they had purchased their prized piano 
and transferred to another ship, along with others I was on the dock to see them 
off. At the close of the conference I flew to Taiwan, and when the Hunkers arrived 
at their destination, Keelung, Taiwan, again I was standing on the dock to wel- 
come them. 

Upon my return to Japan I wrote my parents my impressions of Hong Kong, 
Macao, and Taiwan. A couple of weeks later in response to my letter Mother 
wrote: "Bob, now that you have seen most of the world, don't you still think that 
Tifton is the best?" Outside of the United States, I had been to Japan, Hong Kong, 
Macao, and Taiwan; but as far as Mother was concerned, I had seen most of the 
world. Her world was small indeed! Obviously, the center of it was Tifton. 

Provincialism is a problem we have to struggle with all our lives. Becoming a 
missionary and traveling half way around the world does not automatically deliver 
one from it. The center of the world simply shifts from one country to another. I 
constantly have to remind myself that the world— the one Christ loves and for 
which he died— includes the Philippines and Bangladesh, Yugoslavia and Mexico 
—as well as the United States and Japan. 



Note 

1. The furlough system has been revised a number of times since our appointment. Now 
the missionary is offered innumerable choices, ranging from four months after thirty months 
on the field to a full year after four years on the field. 




(Top, left) My brother, James (seven years old), and I (five) in Alapaha (Top, right) 
Ray Brown (left) and I receiving our doctorates— May 5, 1950 (Bottom) Just mar- 
ried—Kay's parents, Mr. and Mrs. S. S. Sanderson, Kay and I, and my parents, 
Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Culpepper 




(Top) Heading to language school— (left to right) Bill Walker, Worth Grant, Yours 
Truly, and Joyce and Morris Wright (Bottom) Fellowshipping with my dad and 
brother before Kay and I left for Japan in 1950 




(Top) Studying together in connection with the Asia Baptist Graduate Theologi- 
cal Seminary: (left to right) Kazuo Nakamura, myself, Archie Nations, and Masa- 
mitsu Yatsuda (Bottom) A group at the Hirao Baptist Church (1963) 




(Top) A class at Seinan Gakuin (Photo courtesy of Morris J. Wright) (Bottom) 
Professors at the seminary in 1968: (left to right) Kimura, Oozier, Noguchi, 
Yatsuda, myself, Nakamura, Ozaki, Miyoshi, and Kobayashi 




(Top) Dr. and Mrs. Goki Saito and their children, John and Mary— Dr. Saito is 
pastor of the Nagazumi Baptist Church. (Bottom) Runa Yuki giving her confes- 
sion of faith at the Nokata Baptist Mission— Photo courtesy of Doris Walters 




(Top) Kay and I visiting with our daughter, Cathy, her husband, Rob Wilder, Jr., 
and our granddaughter, Sheiton— Photo courtesy of Fred Smith 
(Bottom) Kay and I with Akiko Endo Matsumura— Akiko wrote the letter the Lord 
used in calling us to Japan— Photo courtesy of Rodney V. Byard 



14 
Trying to Communicate 



Several months before our return from furlough the three seminary students 
who had been associated with us in the beginning of the Hirao Mission had grad- 
uated from the seminary. One of these, Nobuo Watanabe, had been called as 
pastor by the Hirao Mission— of course, with the concurrence of the mother 
church. The convention had made this possible by agreeing to undergird the 
pastor's salary on a decreasing scale until the young mission itself could assume 
full responsibility. 

Shortly after his graduation Watanabe-sensei had married Mieko Midorikawa 
and had brought his young bride to live in the little apartment above our garage. 
Though the Hirao Mission continued to meet in our home, my role had changed. 
My responsibility became that of a supporter— seeking to encourage the pastor 
and work with him in the leadership of the mission. 

Soon Kay and I became aware of a factional spirit within the mission— a problem 
which had arisen during our absence. Noda-san, the first man in the mission I had 
baptized, was the leader of a group who opposed the pastor at every turn. This 
group objected to Watanabe-sensei 's aggressiveness in his approach to evan- 
gelism, favoring a slower, more indirect method. No matter how insignificant the 
issue, these two groups inevitably took opposite positions and argued for them as 
if the gospel itself were at stake. 

One day in a church business meeting the question of where to buy slippers for 
the mission became the occasion for a heated dispute. At this point I stood up and 
began to speak with a good bit of emotion. I am sure that my face was flushed and 
that my lower lip was tight and quivering— as is usually the case when I feel some- 
thing deeply. "Enough of this!" I said in a loud, stern voice. "This is Christ's 
church, not a secular club! How can you argue like this about things of no conse- 
quence?" 

At this point Noda-san jumped up from his seat and ran downstairs. Obviously, I 
had offended him. Recognizing the importance of an early reconciliation with him, 
I darted down the stairs after him and stopped him before he could get out the 

128 



TRYING TO COMMUNICATE 129 

door. For forty minutes or more we had a heart-to-heart talk. 

"After all I've done for you," Noda-san said, "and you speak to me in that way." 
He had worked hard during our absence and had shouldered heavy responsibility 
as the oldest male member of the congregation. His words "done for you" both- 
ered me, for I had thought he had been serving the Lord Christ. Also, my words 
had been intended for both sides, not just his. Nothing I could say could amelio- 
rate his hurt and indignation. As far as he was concerned, I had rebuked him in 
public, and he was eight to ten years my senior! I went to see him a number of 
times to try to win him back, but apologies, prayers, and tears— none of these 
satisfied him. He never came back, nor did one of his followers who worked for 
him in his business of distributing fire extinguishers. Another one of this group 
fell away soon afterwards and became equally intractable. Three of the first four 
converts had fallen away, and my losing my temper had been the occasion. 

This experience caused me a great deal of anguish. At times I was tempted to 
apply 1 John 2:19 to the situation: "They went out from us, but they were not of 
us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but 
they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." And 
yet I knew that I was not in a position to make such a judgment and that I dare not 
let myself off so lightly. What they had seen in me was human anger. How differ- 
ent things might have been had I demonstrated to them the compassion of Christ 
and his sorrow in this situation! Painful as this experience was, it taught me two 
important lessons: Be careful how you speak to Japanese people who are older 
than you, and, more important, never rebuke anyone in public. 

A few months after our return to Japan a letter came from Daddy that encour- 
aged us greatly. It went something like this: 

Bob, you and Kay remember how I opposed your going to Japan and how I 
grieved over it. About a month before you were to return to Japan you and I 
were sitting on the porch together enjoying some rich fellowship. I thought: 
"In a little while they will be going back to Japan and then I will experience 
again that terrible sorrow I had the first five-and-a-half years they were away." 
So I prayed: "0 God, if it is thy will for Bob and Kay to be missionaries (and it 
seems to be), I know that it is not thy will for me to grieve about it in this way. 
Please take this sorrow from my heart." 

God answered that prayer. Of course, I have missed you, but it has been dif- 
ferent this time. 

From then on the tone of Daddy's letters was entirely different. He had become 
reconciled to our being in Japan, and had even begun to experience a measure of 



130 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

pride, if not joy, in it. For Mother this kind of victory came more slowly and less 
dramatically. 

At the end of May in 1958, our pastor's wife, Mrs. Watanabe, was awaiting the 
birth of a baby. It is the custom in Japan for the daughter to return to her mother's 
home before giving birth. In this case, however, since Mrs. Watanabe's mother, 
Mrs. Midorikawa, had lost her husband and was living alone, she came to Fukuoka 
to be with her daughter and her son-in-law on the happy occasion. But the antici- 
pated joy was turned into sorrow. The mother had had a kidney problem, and the 
baby girl was born dead. 

Mrs. Midorikawa was of a samurai (warrior class) background, and knew how to 
face sorrow with stoic resignation. Her husband, Tadaharu Midorikawa, had 
served as a junior officer under General Tojo, the leading officer in the imperial 
army which had led Japan down the road of military expansion that brought on 
World War II. He had also served the emperor as a royal escort. 

What Mrs. Midorikawa saw in her daughter and son-in-law, however, was not 
stoic resignation, but victorious Christian faith. Where did this come from? In the 
memorial service that was held for the Watanabe baby one Sunday morning, I 
preached about the hope which we have in Christ and the difference which his 
presence makes in our lives. 

God works in mysterious ways, and in his providence he used this experience 
of deep sorrow to open Mrs. Midorikawa's heart. Before she returned to her home 
about a month later, I had the joy of hearing her confession of faith and of bap- 
tizing her in our outdoor baptismal pool. Until her death a little over a decade later 
she remained a faithful witness to Jesus Christ. The note of praise and victory that 
had become so characteristic of her remained even during the intense suffering 
of terminal cancer. The influence of the Christian witness of Mrs. Midorikawa lived 
on after her death and was at least partially responsible for the conversion of one 
of her daughters, a son-in-law, and five of her grandchildren. 

In September of 1958, it was my joy to baptize Cathy in this same baptismal 
pool. A month or so before, she had responded to an invitation given at our mis- 
sion meeting and had come forward in tears to say she was repenting of her sins 
and trusting Christ. She was eight years old at the time and just entering the third 
grade at the Itazuke Air Base School. Cathy wrote out her confession of faith in 
English, and I interpreted it into Japanese for the congregation. Though Cathy 
spoke Japanese fluently, she felt that for this type of occasion, she could express 
herself better in English. 

While we were on our first furlough, money came from the Foreign Mission 
Board for the purchase of land for the Hirao Mission. Since land prices were rising 
rapidly, the leaders of the mission felt that the lot should be purchased as soon as 



TRYING TO COMMUNICATE 131 

possible. A good many of the churches at that time had kindergartens connected 
with them. Government regulations for kindergartens required a minimum of 300 
tsubo (10,800 square feet). But our budget would not allow the purchase of such a 
large plot of land in the area. 

When Kay and I returned to Fukuoka and saw the plot that had been purchased, 
we were sick of heart. It was on a hill, far removed from the area where we had 
been working, and it was so uneven that it would require considerable leveling 
and high retaining walls on all sides. Accessible from only one side, it was difficult 
to find and a long distance from any form of public transportation. 

After much prayer and discussion there was unanimity within the mission that 
we should sell this lot and buy a more suitable one. Contacting a reputable broker 
in the area, we entrusted the problem to him. Six months later, during the second 
week of December, within one week we were able to sell the old lot and purchase 
a more suitable one. The broker had shown the old lot to nineteen parties before 
finding one who was willing to buy. The doctor who purchased it wanted it for a 
private villa. The location on a hill with a beautiful view made it ideal for this. 

These answers to prayer came within a week after the Week of Prayer for For- 
eign Missions in the States. We had asked friends in America to pray with us 
about this matter. Many others, without being conscious of this specific need, had 
been holding us up in prayer. I firmly believe that the sudden turn of events in 
which we were able to complete both transactions within a week was not at all 
fortuitous but an answer to prayer. 

The 190 tsubo lot (6,840 square feet) was a seven-minute walk from our house 
where we had been meeting, and easily accessible to public transportation. Be- 
cause it was a rice paddy, it was necessary to fill it in and then wait a few months 
for the ground to settle before erecting a building. 

The question of how to communicate the gospel in a country without a Judeo- 
Christian background became even more a consuming concern of mine. It was not 
just the problem of the language, as difficult as that was. Far more fundamental, it 
involved Japanese ways of thinking and approaches to life's problems. Soon I dis- 
covered that the sermons I had been preaching in America did not seem appro- 
priate for the situation in the country to which I had been sent. For effective 
communication, sermons needed to have "made in Japan" stamped upon them. 

In translating the Bible early missionaries to Japan had been forced to choose 
between creating new Japanese words to express biblical concepts or using the 
nearest equivalent in already existing words. They chose the latter course. This 
meant that many of the words used were vague or carried non-Christian, some- 
times anti-Christian connotations. 

For example, the word for God is kami. But in Japan with its pantheistic back- 



132 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

ground almost anybody or anything can be regarded as kami—a majestic moun- 
tain such as Fuji-san, a tree or stream, a flower in bloom, or the sun. 

There is no idea of one transcendent God who is the Creator of all things. The 
spirits of one's departed ancestors become kami and are thus to be worshiped 
and fed with fresh bowls of rice each morning. Shinto teaches that there are 
myriads of gods. Before the war the emperor was worshiped as god. When there 
is no clear distinction between the world and god, there is only a fine line of dis- 
tinction between pantheism (everything is god) and atheism (there is no god). 
This situation calls for a constant reiteration of the biblical teaching about the one 
true and living God, the Creator of all things, who is revealed in Jesus Christ. 

Since there is no clear concept of God, there is no basic understanding of sin as 
rebellion against God or as that which is contrary to his will. On the one hand, 
there is the tendency to think of sin in ceremonial terms as some kind of impurity 
which can be removed by rinsing one's mouth with holy water before worshiping 
at a shrine. On the other hand, there is the tendency to confuse it with crime. 

Japanese words take their meanings from the kanji (Chinese characters) by 
which they are expressed. The kanji for "sinner" has two readings: zainin and 
tsumibito. A zainin is a hanzainin or criminal. Therefore, when the biblical mes- 
sage of man being a sinner is proclaimed, Japanese people often react against it 
with the attitude: "I'm not a criminal. Why do you speak to me in this way?" In this 
context there is the need to explain over and over the Christian understanding of 
the basic difference between sin and crime. Crime is breaking the laws of the 
land, while sin is that which is contrary to the will of God. 

In the early postwar years there was a basic openness to the gospel because of 
the sense of the inadequacy of traditional Japanese concepts and ways of life. 
The fact that Christianity was associated with the West, and with America in par- 
ticular, gave it a special appeal. But this period was short-lived. More and more as 
pride in Japanese culture and tradition came to the fore, Christianity came to be 
regarded as a foreign faith, incongruent with things Japanese. 

More than anything, the Christian claim that there is only one God and only one 
way of approaching him— through his Son, Jesus Christ— made Christianity ap- 
pear incompatible with Japanese life and culture. For centuries Shinto, Bud- 
dhism, and Confucianism had been combined in Japanese life in such a way that it 
was not at all uncommon for the same people to be married in a Shinto wedding 
ceremony, to live by Confucian ethical teachings, and to be given a Buddhist 
funeral at death. If Christianity had been just another flavor in this oriental soup, it 
would not have been so difficult to communicate. But in such a case would it really 
have been Christianity? 

At every turn we found obstacles to the communication of the gospel. Most 



TRYING TO COMMUNICATE 133 

Japanese men were too busy trying to make a living to give any time or thought to 
the making of a life. Often students were led to the point of decision only to 
encounter the strong opposition of their parents to their receiving baptism. 
Housewives often experienced the same kind of opposition from their husbands, 
who, generally speaking, were much less open to the gospel than their wives. 

The case of a fine young person whom I baptized is poignant in my memory. She 
wanted to enter a nursing school and become a nurse in our Baptist hospital in 
Kyoto, but her parents insisted that she marry a man they had chosen for her. 
This non-Christian doctor was jealous of the time his wife wanted to spend at 
church and insisted that she stay at home on Sundays and entertain him and his 
friends. Before long she had fallen away from the church completely. 

But there were joys and victories also. One Christmas season the Hirao Mission 
received the names of all of the patients in a nearby tubercular hospital and made 
personalized Christmas cards for them and prepared gift-wrapped bags of 
cookies which Kay had baked. As we sang Christmas carols on the wards and 
gave a brief statement about the meaning of Christmas, we passed out one of 
these gifts to each patient. One middle-aged lady burst into tears as she ex- 
claimed: "This is the first Christmas card and Christmas present I have ever 
received." 

Slowly the mission grew— a housewife baptized here, a student there, a 
daughter and then later her parents baptized together. From time to time, there 
were those who moved their letters to our church— a business man, a middle- 
aged couple, a student, and so on. 

Next door to us at Hirao residence lived the Shibata family. Toraichiro Shibata 
was an English typing teacher in a high school in the city, while his wife was a 
teacher in a school for the deaf. From the beginning of our work in Hirao, they 
started attending services with a fair degree of regularity. Shibata-sensei also 
introduced a number of his students to our English Bible classes. 

It took Shibata-sensei eight years to make his decision to become a Christian, 
and his wife nine. While riding his bicycle from school one day, he was hit by an 
automobile and lay in an unconscious state at the hospital for several days. During 
this time Watanabe-sensei and I visited him and prayed for him, as did other 
members of our church. The Holy Spirit used this accident to open this man's 
heart to Christ, and he gave his confession of faith and was baptized. 

Mrs. Shibata's decision came later, but it also was precipitated by an accident. 
One day as she was starting a wood fire to heat water for the furo (bath), the fire 
got out of control and the house completely burned down. Having expected a 
severe reprimand from her husband, she was amazed at his loving, understanding 
attitude. "I should have built the fire for you," he said, consoling his wife. This 



134 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

touched her heart, and she became a Christian. 

When their youngest son, Kazuo, was married, the Hirao Baptist Church was 
the scene of the wedding. Until that time, neither he nor his young bride had 
shown much interest in the things of the Kingdom, but before long they became 
faithful Christians. 

Kazuko Shibata, the youngest daughter, became a Christian while attending 
Fukuoka Jo Gakuin, a Methodist girls' school in our city. Recently her son, a 
junior high school student, was baptized into the fellowship of the Hirao Church. 
The biblical promise, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved 
and thy house" is being fulfilled quite literally in the Shibata family. 

In November of 1959 the Hirao Mission moved into its new church building made 
possible by the gifts of Southern Baptists through the Lottie Moon Christmas 
Offering. For almost five years our home had been the meeting place for this 
embryonic church. Immediately, attendance jumped dramatically. 

On November 8, other Baptist churches in the Fukuoka area joined with us in 
the dedication service for the new building, and a few months later they helped us 
celebrate our organization as a self-supporting church. In the early postwar years, 
little attention was given to self-support as a prerequisite for church organization 
and acceptance into the convention, but by the mid-1950s this procedure was 
being questioned seriously. Before the end of that decade it had been generally 
accepted that a mission should be able to pay its pastor's salary and take care of 
local expenses (apart from providing land and building) before church organiza- 
tion. 

Another celebration came for us in the spring of 1961 when Pastor Watanabe 
was ordained, four years after his graduation from the seminary. Representatives 
from other Baptist churches in the area joined with our church to constitute the 
ordination council. 

From time to time I enjoyed the opportunity of preaching in revivals in various 
churches and missions not too far from Fukuoka. I was also invited to write arti- 
cles for some of our Baptist publications in Japan. For example, in 1961 1 wrote a 
series of twelve articles on "Churches in the New Testament" for the Yo No 
Hikari(The Light of the World), the monthly magazine of our Baptist women. 

Work at the seminary continued to occupy most of my time. While we were on 
furlough the seminary called Sadao Sekiya to join Toshio Miyoshi in the Old Testa- 
ment department, while Motoi Yamaji was added to the faculty in systematic the- 
ology and Christian social ethics. A few years later Edwin Dozier joined the semi- 
nary faculty to teach evangelism and other courses in the field of practical the- 
ology. A year later Kazuo Nakamura was added to the faculty to teach New Testa- 
ment. My fields were systematic theology and New Testament theology. 



TRYING TO COMMUNICATE 135 

Since the church was no longer needing our home for a meeting place, Kay and 
I decided to move back to the seminary area so we could use our home in a closer 
ministry to the seminary students. For a number of years, in an effort to get to 
know the students better, I had been eating lunch with them each day in the 
dormitory, but I felt that this was not enough. In 1960 during the spring vacation we 
moved back into the first house we had occupied in Fukuoka. The Copelands, for 
whom the Japan Mission had built this house, had returned to the States four 
years earlier so Luther could teach missions at Southeastern Seminary. Now, 
more than ever, Kay's cooking opened the door for ministry to the students. 

The move came none too soon. With the beginning of the new school year in 
April we admitted the largest group of new students in the seminary's history. 
They were not a silent, nonvocal group either. Soon the nation's biggest postwar 
political crisis began to stir the country and to agitate the students. 

The Liberal-Democratic Party, headed by Prime Minister Kishi, was seeking rati- 
fication of the revision of the Japan-America Mutual Security Treaty, signed by 
Prime Minister Kishi and President Eisenhower, January 19, 1960. 

Advocates of the treaty revision emphasized that the new treaty gave Japan the 
advantage of remaining under America's nuclear umbrella while requiring that 
American forces stationed in Japan receive the prior consent of the Japanese 
government before taking part in any military action overseas. Opponents of the 
treaty revision argued that it, like the treaty before it, was a violation of Japan's 
peace constitution and that instead of providing protection for Japan it made her 
involvement in war more certain should a war erupt between the United States 
and Russia. 

The target date for the ratification of the treaty was June 19, the day President 
Eisenhower was due to visit Japan. The scenario called for him to arrive in Japan 
in an aura of public acclaim as a Man of Peace fresh from his peace mission to 
Moscow. 

But these carefully laid plans suddenly went awry. On May 1, an American U-2 
reconnaissance plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the 
Soviet Union. In righteous indignation Russia protested American spy activity. 
Though the Big Four went to Paris for a Peace Conference scheduled to open May 
16, the tension created by this incident kept the conference from getting under 
way. The cold war between Russia and the United States, which had seemed 
about to thaw, broke out again, and there was fear of a hot war erupting. President 
Eisenhower's proposed visit to Moscow was cancelled, but not his plans for com- 
ing to Japan. Demonstrations in Japan against the peace treaty and President 
Eisenhower's visit grew in size and number from week to week. 

Knowing that the Liberal-Democratic Party had the majority necessary to ratify 



136 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

the treaty revision, opposition parties resorted to stalling tactics, seeking to 
prevent a vote on the issue before May 26, the date set for the adjournment of the 
Diet. To counter this strategy the Liberal-Democratic Party determined on May 19 
to present a motion to extend the Diet. 

When a hundred members of the Socialist Party used strong-arm tactics to pre- 
vent the beginning of the session of the Diet that day, the police were called in, 
and these people were evicted bodily. As a protest against the use of policemen 
in this situation, members of the Socialist-Democratic Party, who had not been 
evicted by the police, joined the other Socialist Party members in boycotting that 
session of the Diet. 

At 1 1 :53 PM the plenary session of the Lower House was opened. Immediately, 
the 200 Liberal-Democratic members of the Lower House voted unanimously to 
extend the Diet by fifty days. By 12:16 AM they had also voted unanimously to 
approve the treaty. 

Following this, a storm of protest broke loose all over Japan. Japanese news- 
papers, with almost complete unanimity, decried the railroading tactics by which 
the treaty had been passed, referring caustically to "the tyranny of the majority." 
The timing of this action was interpreted as a clear attempt on the part of Premier 
Kishi and his forces to assure the passage of the treaty by the time of President 
Eisenhower's scheduled arrival June 19. The provision of the Constitution that an 
action of the Lower House becomes the decision of the Diet if the Upper House 
fails to act on it within thirty days after receiving it from the Lower House guaran- 
teed that action of the Lower House would become law. 

Day by day large-scale demonstrations occurred throughout the country, some 
of them ending in violent clashes with the police. When White House Press Secre- 
tary James C. Hagerty arrived in Japan at 3:35 PM June 10, angry mobs sur- 
rounded his car at the airport and stoned it before he was finally rescued by a 
United States Marine helicopter. "Kishi resign!" "Oppose the treaty!" "Dissolve 
the Diet!" "Don't come Ike!" Signs with these words were prominently displayed 
in all the demonstrations. 

The climax to all of this came on June 15, when a coed of Tokyo University was 
killed in an incident in which riot police had repulsed a mob of fifteen hundred 
demonstrators, who, despite fire hoses, had stormed the Diet. An avalanche of 
protest arose against "police brutality." 

The next day in an emergency cabinet meeting the Japanese government, con- 
cluding that it could not guarantee the American President's safety should he 
come to Japan, requested the government of the United States to postpone Presi- 
dent Eisenhower's visit, and the American government concurred. The new treaty 
went into effect automatically June 19, since thirty days had elapsed since the 
action of the Lower House. 



TRYING TO COMMUNICATE 137 

I will never forget how agitated and concerned the seminary students were on 
the morning after the death of the Tokyo University coed. They looked upon her 
as a martyr for the cause. Many of them had not slept all night because of the 
news of what had occurred the previous evening in Tokyo. 

We missionaries are in a delicate situation with regard to political matters. We 
are strongly advised not to take part in political activity, since we are guests in 
Japan and not citizens. Convinced, however, that anything that concerned the stu- 
dents that deeply also concerned me, I invited a large group of them to our house 
for dialogue on the matter. At the time the feeling of the students was at its high- 
est pitch. My concern was to understand the students and perhaps to bring the 
light of reason to focus on a situation largely dominated by feeling. 

The students insisted they were not anti-American and that they really wanted 
President Eisenhower to visit Japan, but not at that time. They felt that Prime Min- 
ister Kishi had been trying to use President Eisenhower to bolster his own sag- 
ging popularity. They were opposed to the Kishi government not only for its rail- 
roading the treaty revision, but also because it had recently pushed through a bill 
greatly strengthening the power of the police, and because it advocated renation- 
alizing the Yasukuni Shrine where the war dead were enshrined. They interpreted 
all of these actions as movements towards fascism and the revival of militarism 
and a police state. 

I suggested to them that they were deeply sensitive to the dangers of fascism 
because Japan had experienced this menace, but that they did not seem to be 
sufficiently aware of the danger of Communism, the terrors of which they had not 
yet experienced. To this they replied that a blind anti-Communism was worse than 
Communism. They favored a neutral stance in Japanese foreign policy and held 
up the ideal of Japan being the Switzerland of the Far East, an idealism that had 
stemmed from General MacArthur. 

I asked them if they did not think the industrial power of Japan made it a target 
for Soviet expansionism. Their answer was that they believed that American mili- 
tary bases in Japan, far from providing protection from Russia, made it virtually 
certain that Japan would be bombed right away should war break out between the 
United States and the Soviet Union. 

This dialogue deepened my understanding of their thinking and, I think, made 
them aware of my concern for them in this situation. 

One of the students was so radical that I suspected that he was a Communist. 
When I invited him to my office for discussion, he readily accepted. On every 
issue— the Congo, Southeast Asia, Korea— he spouted the Communist line, 
though he refused to answer when I asked him point blank if he were a Commu- 
nist. 

He deplored the economic problems of Japan. "But the situation is much better 



138 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

now than in the early postwar years, don't you think?" I asked. 

"No, it was much better then." 

"What do you mean?" 

"Well, then everybody was poor. Now there is a big gap between the rich and 
the poor," he responded. 

"Christianity is good for changing the individual," he said, "but it is powerless 
in bringing about constructive change in the social order. For that task we need 
Communism." 

"What do you do when there is a conflict?" I asked. 

"There is no conflict," he answered with full assurance. "They are parallel 
lines which will never cross." 

Needless to say, I was unconvinced. We seemed unable to agree on anything. 

"Who started the Korean War?" I asked. 

"South Korea," he replied. 

Since we could not agree on the facts themselves, there was little hope of our 
agreeing on the interpretation of the facts. 

Though this student was not representative of the students as a whole, there is 
no doubt that he had a strong influence on the other students. He was working 
ceaselessly to disseminate propaganda that followed the Communist Party line. 
At the end of the school year he dropped out of school and I lost contact with him. 
The last I heard of him he was a member of a radical church of another denomina- 
tion in Tokyo. 

Gradually, the political crisis passed. The Diet was dissolved, and new elections 
were held. Though Kishi lost his premiership, the Liberal-Democratic Party was 
returned to power with almost as much strength as before. As the political storm 
subsided, the atmosphere in the seminary became relaxed once again. Not until a 
decade later were we to experience again similar tensions in the seminary. This 
time also political problems were involved, but the main focus was upon problems 
in the seminary itself, and the intensity of the conflict and the duration of the crisis 
far exceeded that in 1960. 



15 
Problems Equal Opportunities 



One of the fringe benefits of missionary service is the opportunity it offers for 
travel and seeing new places. Capitalizing on this, we returned to our homes in 
Virginia and Georgia on our second furlough in the summer of 1962 by way of 
Anchorage, Seattle, and New York City. Though Kay had been to New York be- 
fore, for Cathy and me it was the first trip to all of these places. The freshness of 
the air in Alaska was particularly invigorating. 

The large crowds of people and the long lines waiting for all of the more inter- 
esting expositions at the World's Fair in Seattle kept us from spending much time 
there. We had spent enough time in crowds in Japan and weren't interested in 
getting into them in the United States. The beautiful scenery at Mount Ranier 
National Park near Seattle thrilled us, and Cathy and I enjoyed a guided tour on 
horseback over part of the rough terrain of Mount Ranier. Georgia boy that I am, I 
was not used to much snow, but the horses were in snow all the way, sometimes 
even up to their bellies, and it was July. While Kay rested and watched television 
in New York City, Cathy and I took several rides on what was then the world's 
largest roller coaster on Coney Island. I was happy that she enjoyed it as much as I 
did. 

We spent the school year in one of the missionary apartments at The Southern 
Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, the other three apartments 
being occupied by missionaries to Nigeria. At this time Ray Brown was teaching 
New Testament at Southern Seminary, and Carl Hunker, on furlough from Taiwan, 
was Visiting Professor of Missions. Living in Louisville this year brought us back 
into close fellowship with the Browns and Hunkers. 

Cathy, just entering junior high school, attended the same school as Joyce 
Lynn Hunker, who was two grades ahead of her. These two, who had spent two 
weeks together aboard ship five years earlier, took up their friendship as if there 
had been no time lapse. They had spent their lives in different countries, but their 
identity as missionary kids gave them so much in common that each became the 
other's best friend. 

139 



140 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

My big project of the year was studying German, for anyone who teaches the- 
ology, especially in Japan, needs at least a reading knowledge of this language. 
The little bit of German I had studied in college had left me; so I had to start from 
the beginning. I also spent a great deal of my time in independent reading as well 
as in auditing various courses that interested me. I was particularly grateful for the 
opportunity of studying under Dr. Eric Rust, some of whose books I had read. He 
had moved from England almost a decade earlier to join the faculty of Southern 
Seminary. Getting to know him personally and enjoying the stimulus of his great 
mind was a thrilling experience. 

Dr. Dale Moody, under whom I had done my graduate study, was on a special 
study leave in England, but he did return to Southern for a brief visit in January of 
1963. During the time he was in Louisville we entertained the Dale Moodys, 
Wayne Wards, and John Claypools with a sukiyaki dinner. Wayne and I had 
studied biblical theology together in seminary days, and he had preached for us in 
a revival at Buck Run Church when I was pastor. I was enjoying auditing a course 
under him in the seminary on approaches to New Testament theology. John, who 
had also done his doctoral work in theology, was pastor of Crescent Hill Baptist 
Church near the seminary. Our whole family was finding his preaching to be very 
exciting. At the sukiyaki dinner all of us sat on cushions on the floor, Japanese 
style, and while Kay cooked for the ladies I did the honors for the men. From the 
beginning of the evening until the end we men enjoyed one of the liveliest theo- 
logical discussions in which I have ever been privileged to participate. 

The timing of our furlough caused us to be away from Japan when the New Life 
Movement was held there in the spring of 1963. At that time, under the leadership 
of missionary Dub Jackson, large numbers of evangelistic teams, consisting 
usually of a preacher, some lay witnesses, and one or more musicians, went to 
Japan at their own expense for the privilege of bearing their witness there for 
Christ. 

Shortly before leaving for Japan to participate in some of these meetings, a lay- 
man from Louisville asked me, "Do you think I can make any significant contribu- 
tion over there?" 

"That depends largely on your motive for going and the quality of your relation- 
ship to Jesus Christ," I answered. 

Objecting that this method of evangelism was not suited to the current scene in 
Japan, some pastors and churches in the Japan Baptist Convention chose not to 
cooperate in these meetings. But those who did cooperate, almost without excep- 
tion, testified concerning the rich blessings reaped from the meetings. Increased 
attendance, new contacts for the church, souls born into the kingdom, and an 



PROBLEMS EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES 141 

enlarged vision of reaching the masses of Japan with the gospel were among the 
benefits frequently reported. 

Returning to Japan in the summer of 1963, we moved back into the house near 
the seminary which we had occupied before furlough. But again some "moving" 
experiences awaited us. The Archie Nations family was scheduled to move to 
Fukuoka in the spring of 1964 so Archie could teach New Testament in the semi- 
nary. 

Our family was chosen by the mission to build a new house so the Nations 
family could use the house we occupied. The main reason was that escalating 
building costs had led the Japan Mission to start building smaller houses. Since 
the Nations had four children and we had only one, obviously they needed a larger 
house than we did. The plan was for us to let them have our fifty tsubo house 
(1 ,800 square feet) while we built one of thirty-eight tsubo next to it. But the build- 
ing project did not go on schedule. In order to allow the Nations to move into their 
house on time in the spring of 1964, we had to make an interim move into the 
house vacated by the Max Garrott family, who had just moved to Kokura, where 
Max was already serving as Chancellor of Seinan Jo Gakuin, our girls' school. 
Finally, our house was completed, and in August we became next-door neighbors 
to the Nations. 

We returned to Japan just after the pastor of the Hirao Church had resigned in 
order to study at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, 
North Carolina. I assumed duties as interim pastor of the church, though I did not 
bear this title. 

When the pulpit committee began to think of calling a pastor, I suggested 
Minoru Shimizu, who was at that time studying at Southern Seminary. I thought of 
him because I knew that he had resigned his church in Kyoto to go to America for 
study and that at the end of his two-year study period he would be wanting to get 
back into Christian work in Japan. 

He had been among the first students I taught, for he had entered the seminary 
in Fukuoka the same year I went there to teach. While on furlough at Southern 
Seminary, Kay and I had enjoyed close fellowship with him. At that time Foreign 
Mission Board policy would not allow nationals who were studying in the States 
under board sponsorship to bring their families. Separated thus from his wife and 
children, he was lonesome for Japan and home. We were also lonesome for 
Japan while we were in Louisville, so it was a great joy to us to have fellowship 
with him in our home, on the campus, and at Crescent Hill Church. This close 
association with him made me feel that he would make a good pastor and that I 
would enjoy working with him. 



142 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Upon my suggestion the pulpit committee recommended him to the church, and 
the church called him. Shimizu-sensei accepted the call but explained that he 
could not come until he had finished his work in the seminary in May of 1964. 
While the church was awaiting the arrival of its new pastor, it was my joy to do 
most of the preaching and pastoral work. 

From the time Shimizu-sensei assumed his pastoral duties at Hirao, he im- 
pressed me deeply as a genuine man of God, completely open and without affec- 
tation. He was a good preacher and a marvelous storyteller. It was especially 
refreshing to see how he could laugh at himself. The church received him and his 
family quite warmly. 

Because our Sunday School space was inadequate, for several years the Sun- 
day School had been using the downstairs of the pastorium for Sunday School 
rooms. Feeling that it would be unfair to the pastor and his family to continue this 
after the arrival of the Shimizus with their three children, the church built side 
rooms for Sunday School space before the new pastor's arrival. 

The story of how God opened Shimizu-sensei's heart to the gospel during his 
teens and prepared him for ministry in Christ's name is fascinating. Shimizu-san 
was a third-year student in junior high school when the announcement came on 
August 15, 1945 of Japan's defeat in war. Until then he had accepted quite un- 
critically the nationalistic, militaristic propaganda that the emperor was divine and 
that the Japanese people had a manifest destiny to unite the world under their 
sovereignty. 

Suddenly the bottom fell out. He felt that he could no longer believe his parents, 
his teachers, or other adults, for they had deceived him. What could he find in 
which he could believe? 

First, he encountered Communism. Hearing that the Communists had opposed 
Japan's war policies and that many of them had been put into prison for their con- 
victions, he began to feel that he had found in Communism something he could 
believe. Avidly, he read the writings of Marx and Lenin and other Communist 
leaders. He associated with the Communist movement for about a year, but grad- 
ually disillusionment set in. The motive power of the movement was hate, he 
decided. But surely love, not hate, must be the foundation on which to build life. 

When informed that the famous Socialist leader, Toyohiko Kagawa, was giving a 
lecture nearby, Shimizu-san went to hear him. He had expected a lecture on 
Socialism, but heard instead a sermon on God and his love. Deeply influenced by 
what he had heard, he started attending a Christian Alliance Church. 

Church attendance didn't last very long, though, because preparation for col- 
lege entrance exams soon became his primary concern. Wanting to improve his 
English, he asked a friend, whose English was quite good, how he had learned the 



PROBLEMS EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES 143 

language so well. The friend replied that he had been studying under a mission- 
ary. Thus he was introduced to Bill Medling and to the Dai Ichi Baptist Church in 
Tokyo, which met in the Medling home. Regularly on Sunday mornings he at- 
tended the Bible class which Bill taught and the worship service that followed. 

Constantly the missionary hammered away on one theme: the cross of Christ as 
the only adequate solution to man's sin problem. Believing that Christ had died for 
his sins, Shimizu-san confessed this faith before the congregation and was bap- 
tized into the fellowship of the Dai Ichi Baptist Church by pastor Yoshizo Tomita. 

Shimizu-sensei relates that in seeking to live as he felt a Christian should live he 
soon became legalistic and judgmental. He began to criticize weaknesses and 
sins in the lives of fellow Christians, particularly older members of the congrega- 
tion. Before long this fault-finding spirit was directed toward the pastor. In com- 
parison with the missionary, the pastor, about seventy at the time, seemed cold 
and unloving. "He is not evangelistic enough," Shimizu-san began to tell his 
friends. "As long as he is pastor the church can never advance." 

Seeking to force the pastor to resign, Shimizu-san led in the organization of a 
philosophy study group. For thirty minutes or so this group of five or ten young 
people would study Plato and then spend the rest of the time criticizing the pas- 
tor. 

One day from the pulpit Pastor Tomita preached on the church as the body of 
Christ and charged that a group within the church was seeking to split the body by 
trying to oust him as pastor. Incensed by this sermon, Shimizu-san left the 
church, accusing all the church people of being hypocrites. 

"I thought I could live the Christian life without the church," he said. "But I soon 
gave up Bible study and prayer and before long I wasn't certain about anything, 
not even God." 

Many months passed. One evening as he was leaving the library of Aoyama 
Gakuin University, the Methodist school in Tokyo where he was studying, he 
passed by the school chapel where a YMCA— YWCA joint vesper service was in 
progress. Without any special reason he entered the chapel and sat down. How 
long it had been since he had sung hymns and listened to Scripture! 

As the one presiding read Psalm 139, God began to speak to Shimizu-san 
through Scripture. "0 Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me ... . thou 
understandest my thought afar off ... . and art acquainted with all my ways" (vv. 
1-3). Reflecting upon his own life, Shimizu-san was suddenly stabbed into an 
awareness that nothing was hidden from God. His self-righteous attack upon 
pastor Tomita and the church, his neglect of prayer and Bible study, his coldness 
of heart and weakness of faith— all of these things were clearly known to God. 

"I have been accusing the pastor and the church members of pride and hy- 



144 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

pocrisy, but what about myself?" Shimizu-san asked. "I came to see that I was the 
proud one, the hypocrite, the Pharisee. Could I ever lift my eyes toward God? I 
wondered. Then, as I opened my eyes, above the pulpit I saw the figure of the 
cross," he related. 

Immediately Shimizu-san went to pastor Tomita and with tears in his eyes 
apologized for the wrong he had done. "Will you forgive me?" he asked. 

"I have been praying for you every day," the pastor replied. Through these 
words he came to experience anew the wonderful love of God. 

Upon finishing language school in Tokyo, Bill Medling and his family moved to 
Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu for evangelistic work. During his senior year in 
college, Shimizu-san received word from one of the church young people that the 
missionary was praying that God would call him as a pastor. 

Hearing this, Shimizu-san laughed out loud. "Me? A pastor? What a joke!" he 
said. 

Greatly amused by this incident, he told a girl friend. But she did not laugh. 
"How do you know that God is not speaking to you through him?" she asked. 

This jolted him and led to a period of searching, climaxed by his discovery of 
John 15:16: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you . . . ." Applying this 
verse to his own situation, Shimizu-san made his commitment, asking God to 
block the way if this was out of his will. 

Shortly after Shimizu-sensei became pastor at Hirao, I was approached by a 
delegation from Rinkosha (Good Will Center) Mission in the city of Tobata, about 
an hour away by train. They were asking me to become their pastor. 

My good friend, Ralph Calcote, who had been their pastor, was moving his 
family to Nagoya so his children could enter an American school there. For a 
number of years he and his wife had taught the Calvert home study course to the 
children, but they had found the dual role of parent and teacher too demanding. 
Since the children were becoming restless and rebellious, they felt that they 
could continue the home teaching no longer. Nagoya, the third largest city in 
Japan, had only one other Baptist missionary family, so there was plenty of work 
to be done there. 

The Rinkosha Mission had been started less than a year earlier with a nucleus 
of members from the Tobata Baptist Church. This was a voluntary division of 
members intended to reduce tension within the Tobata Church as well as to accel- 
erate the pace of evangelism in the city through the addition of another church. 

After prayerful consideration, I accepted this invitation, confident that the Hirao 
Church was in good hands under Pastor Shimizu's leadership. I served this group 
from September of 1964 through March of 1966. Kay made the trip With me each 
Sunday as we parked the car at the Hakata (Fukuoka) station and commuted to 



PROBLEMS EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES 145 

Tobata by train. We both had English Bible classes before the morning worship 
service. I was very poor company for Kay on those trips. On the way to the church I 
was always engrossed in sermon preparation, and on the way back I was usually 
asleep. 

This was a very happy experience for me. I found real joy in preaching to the 
same congregation each Sunday. Trying to meet their spiritual needs helped me 
to grow. Most of the pastoral responsibilities and business affairs of the church 
were taken care of by the laymen. 

Here, as at Hirao, the church members built an outside baptistry. Six were bap- 
tized in it during the nineteen months that I served the group. 

In the fall of 1965, this group was organized as the Kita Kyushu (North Kyushu) 
Baptist Church. Shortly afterward, the church issued a call to Shinji Hikasa to 
become its pastor. Hikasa-sensei, who had served for many years as the pastor of 
the Tobata Church before moving to Tokyo in 1956 to become executive secretary 
of the Japan Baptist Convention (JBC), accepted the call, effective April 1, 1966. 

One of the most difficult problems missionaries face has to do with the school- 
ing of their children. A few missionaries try sending their children to a Japanese 
school while teaching them at home the bare essentials for an English language 
education. Though this is extremely demanding on the children, some children 
get along all right until they come to the first furlough. Then the children usually 
forget the kanji (Japanese characters) they have learned and get hopelessly 
behind while their Japanese class is learning others. 

Some missionaries, like the Calcotes whom I have already mentioned, try to 
teach their own children. This sometimes works fairly well in the first few grades, 
but it becomes increasingly difficult the older the child and the more advanced the 
level of work. Not many parents can successfully switch roles from parent to 
teacher. At best, the child misses much in social adjustment that could be at- 
tained through attending school. 

In the early postwar years the Japan Mission started out with the idealistic 
intention of placing a missionary unit (family or single person) alongside a Japa- 
nese pastor in each of the forty-six prefectures of Japan. For a while we forged 
ahead along these lines until there were missionaries in half the prefectures. 
Then, as our MKs (missionary kids) got older, the problems increased and our 
missionaries began to pull back from the outlying areas and concentrate in the 
areas where there were schools. In the meantime, the Japanese pastors, not 
having the same kind of school problems as missionaries, continued to reach out 
into the hinterland, so that now they have established a witness in all the prefec- 
tures. 

As a mission, we have never clearly indicated whether our objective has 



146 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

changed or whether the realities of the situation have kept us from meeting it. In 
my view, this needs to be clarified. Through the years this matter has been a point 
of tension between the Japan Baptist Mission and the Japan Baptist Convention. 
There is little doubt that most convention leaders want us to move out into the 
remote areas, though, for the most part, they have demonstrated a good bit of 
understanding and tolerance in the matter. 

During our early years in Fukuoka we did not face this problem in an acute form 
because we had the Itazuke Air Base School. While we lived in Hirao, it was only 
thirty minutes away by bus. When we moved back to the vicinity of the seminary, 
by 6:45 AM we had to drive Cathy to Nishijin, about fifteen minutes away, and then 
pick her up there every afternoon. The bus trip from Nishijin took about fifty 
minutes. 

Grateful as we were for the privilege of using the school on the air base, we 
were not unmindful of the problems involved. Cathy naturally wanted to spend 
time on the base with her friends, but since we did not live near the school this 
was difficult. Military script was used for money on the base, but since we were 
not in military service we did not have access to it. 

Before Cathy entered high school (ninth grade) we faced a crucial decision. 
Should we send her off to school or let her continue going to school on the base? 
The problems mentioned above were becoming more acute all the time. The high 
school at Itazuke was not oriented toward preparing pupils for college, since rela- 
tively few of the children whose parents were in military service there went on to 
college. Year after year we heard rumors that after another year the base school 
would be closing. What would we do if this happened midway in her high school 
years? Cathy wanted to be fully a part of the school she attended. In the base 
school she felt like a visitor. 

While Cathy was still in the eighth grade we let her visit the American School in 
Japan in Tokyo and Canadian Academy in Kobe and choose between them. She 
chose the Canadian Academy, largely because it had a large school dormitory. 
Here she felt she would be more fully a part of everything than in the school at 
Tokyo which had no such dorm. The Canadian Academy suited us also because 
Kobe was only half the distance to Tokyo. Even so, it took eight hours to make the 
trip from Fukuoka by express train. The shinkansen (bullet train) was already in 
operation between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka (near Kobe), but the line had not yet 
been extended to Fukuoka. When it was opened in March of 1975, the trip took 
less than half the time. 

We felt that at fourteen Cathy was too young to be going off to school. During 
those very impressionable years she needed to be at home. Nevertheless, we 
believed that sending her to Canadian Academy was the best of the alternatives 



PROBLEMS EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES 147 

open to us; and, as it turned out, the base school did close before Cathy finished 
high school. We knew that after she entered college she would have to be sepa- 
rated from us by thousands of miles and for long periods of time. Perhaps going 
away to school in her high school days would be good preparation for this. 

It wouldn't have been so bad if Cathy could have come home on weekends, but 
Kobe was much too far away for that. She did get to come home for Thanksgiving, 
Christmas, and spring holidays, but we never knew Cathy's school friends, nor 
did we see her in any of her school activities. Kay frequently lamented the fact 
that she never saw Cathy perform during the four years she served as a cheer- 
leader and that she didn't see Cathy when she had the leading role in one of the 
school plays. Calling her by phone from time to time helped, but I was too econ- 
omy-minded to allow this very often. 

A death in the family is always a sad experience, but when one is separated 
from family members by thousands of miles the sense of loneliness, pain, and 
helplessness becomes even more poignant. In April of 1964, James' wife, Mary, 
died suddenly. She had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for several 
years, but we had no idea that her condition was so critical. We talked with the 
family by phone, and later James sent me a tape telling about her sudden turn for 
the worse, her death, and the funeral. 

My heart went out to my brother in this time of deep loneliness and grief, but 
separated by so many miles we were not able to express our concern adequately. 
James and Mary had been very close to Mother and Daddy, and through the years 
by their constant love and care for them had eased as best they could the hurt of 
our separation from them. Saddest of all was the fact that Sarah Ann was deprived 
of her mother before she was seven. In the spring of the next year James married 
Carolyn Price, the widow of Walter Price, who had died a few years earlier. Walter 
and Carolyn had been the closest friends James and Mary had in Thomaston, and 
they had always taken a special interest in Sarah Ann. 

On November 1, 1965, Kay's mother, Mrs. Sanderson, passed away quietly in 
her bed. For many years she had been suffering from high blood pressure, and 
nothing the doctors could do would bring it under control. The strain of a viral 
infection brought on a sudden heart attack. Her death took us all by surprise. 

When we received news of this in Fukuoka, we were grateful beyond measure 
that Kay's mother had been able to spend a month with us two-and-a-half years 
earlier while we were in Louisville on furlough. A very gracious Southern lady, 
Mrs. Sanderson was the exact opposite of the interfering mother-in-law who is the 
butt of so many jokes. Of all of the pastors in Japan, Shimizu-sensei was the only 
one who had known Mrs. Sanderson. How fortunate we were to have him as our 
pastor at that time! 



148 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Neither of us was able to return to the States on that occasion. As we lifted up 
Mr. Sanderson and the rest of the family before the Lord in prayer, we prayed for a 
special measure of grace to be given to Kay's brother and sister-in-law, Stuart Jr. 
and Jean, who all their married lives had lived next door to Kay's parents. Through 
the years they had done for Kay's parents what James and his wife had done for 
mine. 

In September of 1966, 1 received a letter from an alumna of Mercer and a former 
member of Tattnall Square Baptist Church, located on a corner of the Mercer Uni- 
versity campus. The letter was addressed to friends of Tattnall Square and 
Mercer, appealing to us, particularly those of us serving as missionaries, to write 
the church to try to influence it toward a Christian position on a racial issue that 
had the church embroiled in controversy. At that time Mercer had sixty-one 
alumni serving as missionaries in twenty-four countries, and forty of them during 
their student days had been a part of the Tattnall Square Baptist Church fellow- 
ship. I was one of the forty. Newspaper dippings gave the background of the 
controversy. 

Under the leadership of its president, Rufus C. Harris, Mercer University had 
become the first Georgia Baptist institution to adopt an integration policy. Two of 
the black students admitted to Mercer had attended Tattnall Square Baptist 
Church June 26 and had been seated without incident. But a controversy ensued, 
and the church voted 286 to 109 to exclude black students from attending serv- 
ices, even those who were studying for the ministry at Mercer University. Not 
satisfied with this, the segregationists within the congregation then led a move- 
ment to oust the pastor and his two associates who had declared that they would 
neither support a segregation policy nor resign in the midst of such a conflict. One 
of the truly ironic things about the situation was that seventy-five years earlier the 
school had deeded the land to this church for $5.00 so it could build on the cam- 
pus and have a ministry to the students, faculty, and neighborhood. Now the 
church was turning its back on such a ministry. 

I gladly wrote a letter addressed to the deacons of the church. I explained that I 
had spent the first twenty years of my life in Georgia, and that I was not unfamiliar 
with the racial problem in the South. I then confessed that in my personal life I had 
not fully triumphed over prejudice but was still engaged in the struggle against it. I 
then urged them to consider three truths. 

Consider first the nature of the church, I appealed. The church is a Christocracy 
because it confesses the lordship of Jesus Christ. It has a vertical dimension 
which distinguishes it from a civic club or a fraternal organization. Therefore, the 
first question in the issue is not the mind of the membership but the mind of 
Christ. "Surely the one who commended the faith of a Gentile centurion, who told 
the parable of the Good Samaritan and who gave the water of life to a Samaritan 



PROBLEMS EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES 149 

woman, who was the friend of publicans and sinners, and who was crucified be- 
cause he championed the cause of the disinherited and attempted to demonstrate 
that God loved them too— surely this one would not close the door of his church to 
anyone simply because his skin was not white." Declaring that the issue was 
whether we were on the side of the crucified or those who crucified him, I 
appealed to them not to let their culture determine the pattern of their Christianity 
but to reverse it by allowing their Christianity to transform the pattern of their cul- 
ture. 

Consider in the second place the mission of the church, I pleaded. Defining the 
mission of the church as that of proclaiming the saving grace of God in Jesus 
Christ, I pointed to the way the Holy Spirit had worked in the early church to break 
down barriers of national, racial, and religious prejudice that the gospel might be 
unhampered. "As a Southern Baptist church you participate in the world mission 
of the church through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas 
Offering," I wrote. "Would you give for our support and pray for us on the one 
hand and then by an un-Christlike action which is sounded around the world tie 
our hands on the other?" 

Consider, finally, the special mission of Tattnall Square Baptist Church, I urged. 
"Because of its location, Tattnall Square Baptist Church is not just another 
church. It is a special church with a very special opportunity and therefore a very 
special responsibility," I wrote. "You are faced with the opportunity of demon- 
strating the relevancy of the gospel to the problems of our human predicament at 
a time when many, particularly the young people, are questioning it as perhaps 
never before." 

Unfortunately, the Tattnall Square Church did not meet the test. During the 
crucial business meeting on September 25 called to deal with the issue, my letter 
was read, along with that of another missionary. Nevertheless, the church voted 
250 to 189 to fire its pastor, Thomas J. Holmes, along with the assistant pastor and 
the minister of music. That same morning, shortly before the church took this 
action, the ushers of this church had forcibly barred a Ghanaian student of Mercer 
from entering the church for worship. This student had been won to Christ by a 
missionary who was an alumnus of Mercer, and he had been directed to Mercer 
by the missionary. The story of this tragic episode in the life of this church is told 
by the ousted pastor in a book called Ashes for Breakfast (Judson Press). 

The action of the church in firing the pastor and his assistants for applying the 
standards of the Word of God to the racial problem led large numbers of those 
who stood with the ousted servants of God to move their memberships to other 
churches. In 1974, the church sold its property to Mercer and moved to another 
location in the city. Mercer then renovated the building and began using it for 
chapel services and other religious activities. 



16 
Building Bridges 



In our mission meeting in the summer of 1965 I was elected mission chairman 
for the 1966 calendar year, and I was re-elected for another one-year term at our 
next mission meeting. Following a long established tradition of the mission, the 
election was by secret ballot without any nominations. Taken completely by sur- 
prise by this turn of events and feeling that I was lacking in administrative gifts, I 
tried to decline, but the mission would not allow it. Once committed to this 
responsibility, however, I resolved to give it my best. 

At the time I was elected I was serving as interim pastor at Tobata and planning 
to start a new mission in the Nagazumi area the following year. With the responsi- 
bility of mission chairman added to my duties in the seminary and my church 
work, I was over-committed. To ease my burden, the seminary permitted me a 
reduced teaching load for the term beginning in the spring of 1966. 

Knowing that the new responsibility would entail a tremendous amount of cor- 
respondence, for the first time I secured a full-time secretary. I used my study at 
the seminary for seminary-related work and my study at home for sermon prep- 
aration and my work as mission chairman. While I was away on trips, my secretary 
stayed busy typing my sermons in romaji from recordings made in the church 
services. 

The chairman of the mission was chairman of the executive committee of the 
mission and the official spokesman for the mission. He was the chief liaison 
between the mission and the convention and, along with the treasurer, was the 
mission's official liaison with the Foreign Mission Board. 

Though my father and brother were both bankers, I had no penchant for matters 
of finance and bookkeeping. When budgets are under discussion, my receiving 
set usually clicks off automatically, often without my being aware of it at the time. 
Feeling that my most significant contribution would not be made in these areas, I 
committed the details of matters in these fields to the treasurer of our mission and 
the chairman of our finance committee, and concentrated most of my efforts in 
areas where I felt more competent. 

150 



BUILDING BRIDGES 151 

There being no Board-appointed field representative for our area at that time, I 
interpreted one of my major responsibilities as that of being a pastor to the mis- 
sionaries of the Japan Baptist Mission. In my chairman's message at our mission 
meetings in 1966 and 1967 and in my personal relations with missionaries 
throughout Japan, I tried to respond to needs, particularly needs of those who 
were hurting. I never knew what a day would bring forth, because I had no way of 
knowing what kind of phone calls or letters I would receive. 

On a Sunday morning only nine days after I had assumed office, I received word 
that Coleman Clarke had been stabbed in his home in Tokyo. The son of Baptist 
missionaries to Japan, Coleman himself was one of our missionary veterans. 
Leaving as soon as I could after the morning service that Sunday, I went to Tokyo 
to visit with the Clarkes. 

In a very bizarre incident, the only one of its kind that I have ever heard of, Cole- 
man and his wife, Jabe, had been attacked by a Japanese student they had be- 
friended and permitted to spend the night with them. Hearing a noise in the 
kitchen area early one morning, Coleman had gone to check on it when he was 
attacked by this student with a hunting knife. He had laid out the kitchen knives as 
backup weapons. For some time Coleman tried to wrestle the knife away from the 
young man, who kept stabbing at him with it. Finally, wresting himself free, he ran 
for the bedroom where Jabe was and tried to lock the door but was unsuccessful 
in the attempt. The student followed him into the bedroom brandishing his blood- 
stained knife, while Coleman, with blood streaming from wounds on his face, 
neck, arms, and body, along with his wife, Jabe, pleaded with the young man to go 
away and leave them alone. For what seemed like an eternity the student chased 
them around the bedroom screaming, "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to kill you," 
as Coleman tried to protect his wife and fight off the assailant as best he could. 
Finally, Jabe escaped and ran to a neighbor's to call for help. The assailant soon 
left, knowing that before long people would be coming to Coleman's rescue. 

Jabe was physically unhurt, but when I arrived she and Coleman were patients 
in the hospital. Coleman looked like he had been beaten up rather severely in a 
boxing match, but the bandages on his face and neck where he had been cut with 
the knife indicated he had gone through far more than a boxing match. Both Cole- 
man and Jabe were in a state of shock when I saw them. The psychological 
wounds proved to be much deeper than any physical ones inflicted. My role was 
to counsel and pray with them and help arrange an emergency medical furlough 
for them. 

About two months later I was called back to Tokyo again to counsel and pray 
with Bill and Jeannie Hashman, when it was learned that Bill had cancer. A former 
air corps pilot, Bill had come to Japan to become an athletic coach at Seinan 



152 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Gakuin University. He was in his second year in language school when this illness 
occurred. Returning to the States, he fought bravely against the disease for 
almost three years before succumbing to it. 

During my two years as mission chairman I traveled all over Japan, but my most 
frequent trips were to Tokyo and to Amagi Sanso, our retreat grounds about two- 
and-a-half hours away from Tokyo. Since most of these trips were made by train, I 
spent an average of two or three nights a month on a second-class, three-tier 
sleeper. The bunks were hard and narrow. They were supplied only with a blanket 
covered with a sheet, but they had no bottom sheet. One special blessing of such 
constant travel was the opportunity it provided for stopping in Kobe from time to 
time to visit with Cathy at Canadian Academy. A problem that it posed was that I 
had to make up the classes I missed in the seminary. 

One time Kay met me at the station after one of these trips. I put my bags down 
to open the door for her— and then went off and left them on the sidewalk! About 
an hour later I discovered I had forgotten them. I rushed back to find them com- 
pletely undisturbed on the sidewalk where I had left them. Again and again, I have 
thanked the Lord for calling me to Japan, for where else but in Japan could this 
have happened? 

A major concern of mine was trying to build bridges of cooperation between the 
Japan Baptist Mission and the Japan Baptist Convention. Close association with 
our convention leaders gave me a deep respect for these men of God. For several 
years the mission had been seeking more freedom of operation for its mission- 
aries within the context of cooperation with the Convention. This tended to create 
misunderstanding and leave the impression that the mission was breaking off 
cooperation with the convention to go its own way. I felt called to exercise all the 
influence I had within the mission to prevent any such break. I felt it my job to 
assure convention representatives that while wanting freedom to discharge our 
God-given responsibilities related to our call to Japan, we missionaries wanted at 
the same time to work in complete harmony with the Convention. 

Again and again, in joint meetings of the Convention and mission personnel 
committees, I heard convention representatives present the need for mission- 
aries in various parts of Japan, particularly the outlying areas. Again and again, I 
sensed their feeling of hurt and disappointment as we had to tell them that we 
would present those needs to the mission and to the Foreign Mission Board, but, 
as far as we knew, in the immediate future there would be no one to meet them. 

During my term as mission chairman the mission called upon the Foreign Mis- 
sion Board to make Japan a top priority nation in the appointment of missionary 
personnel. I emphasized that in terms of population Japan was one of the largest 
countries to which Southern Baptists were sending missionaries, that it was the 



BUILDING BRIDGES 153 

most highly industrialized, educated, progressive, and influential nation in Asia, 
while the percentage of Christians in the population was one of the smallest of 
any country in Asia. During the years that have passed, appointments to Japan 
have continued from year to year but no more than enough to make replacements 
for those resigning or retiring. 

At the 1966 mission meeting, our mission adopted some guidelines for the 
deployment of missionaries. This was a move toward a comprehensive mission 
strategy which would take into account the need for concentrating missionaries in 
certain areas while diffusing others throughout the country. It gave some practical 
suggestions, which, if they had been implemented through the years, would have 
gone a long way toward making it possible for missionaries to serve in all of the 
forty-six prefectures, exclusive of Okinawa, which at that time was not a part of 
Japan. Unfortunately, after 1967, with a change of administration, these principles 
were forgotten. 

Perhaps the most significant action taken during my term as mission chairman 
had to do with the stewardship of the gospel in the management of mission prop- 
erty. Because of the escalating land prices and building costs in the 1960s, we 
reached a point where the Foreign Mission Board could not supply the funds 
necessary to buy land and build houses for missionaries in Japan through its 
regular appropriations. This was despite the fact that the standard size of lots had 
been reduced from 300 tsubo\o 100-150 tsubo and that of houses from 50 tsubo\o 
32-40 tsubo (a tsubo is thirty-six square feet). 

Our only hope for any kind of mobility and continued expansion in Japan was 
through the wise management of property resources already on hand. Fortu- 
nately, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, we had bought several large plots of land 
in Tokyo for what were considered immediate needs, and, in addition to these, 
lots of about 300 tsubo each as needed throughout the country. These were the 
capital resources which would keep us in operation as prices became inflated. 

In the fall of 1966 the executive committee appointed a property survey commit- 
tee consisting of the best business heads in the mission. This committee was 
authorized to seek the assistance of competent experts in the field of property 
management and make recommendations to the mission concerning the use of 
our resources. We were mindful, of course, that our property holdings did not 
belong to us as a mission, but to the Foreign Mission Board, and that we must 
operate within the framework of existing board policy. Attempting to explain this 
action to the mission, I sent out an essay-letter entitled "The Stewardship of the 
Gospel." 

It became obvious at once that certain land holdings in Tokyo, with their ex- 
tremely high values, needed to be developed as fully as possible. This led to the 



154 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

building of some apartments in Tokyo which, after a few years' rental, paid for 
themselves and then became residences for missionary personnel. Other apart- 
ments, still not needed for missionary use, continued as rental units at highly 
profitable rates. For a number of years, the Foreign Mission Board, through its 
appropriations, has been able to provide only about twenty to forty percent of the 
costs of land and construction of missionary homes. Further funds continue to 
come, and as far as I can see must continue to come, from a judicious use of the 
resources we already have. 

It is a source of satisfaction to me that during my terms as mission chairman the 
mission began to take some constructive actions in these directions. As chairman 
I helped formulate the policies and place them before the mission and the board; 
but, to my mind, it was Morris Wright, more than any other individual, who through 
the use of the highly analytical business mind the Lord had given him, helped us 
to remain financially solvent. It was a tremendous loss to our mission when in 
1976 he and Joyce moved to Jamaica to lead in publication work there. 

In the same year that I became mission chairman, Kay and I led in the starting of 
a new mission in Nagazumi. Shortly after the organization of the Hirao Baptist 
Church in 1960, 1 started challenging it to begin a mission. Soon the dream began 
to catch on, and certain members started making designated gifts for this end. 
Some began selling eggs and putting the profits into this fund. The fund was 
increased considerably by the gift of about $1,400 from a wealthy building con- 
tractor, a member of Seinan Church who had been won to Christ by Max Garrott. 

We had considered several areas as possible sites for the mission, when the 
newspapers began to carry stories of a mammoth new town to be built on the 
south side of the city. It was less than three miles from Hirao, beyond a high hill. 
Feeling that this was the proper section of the city, we began investigating land in 
that area, but did not get far because we had on hand no more money than would 
be necessary for a token down payment. 

When the church called Shimizu-sensei as pastor, concern for establishing a 
new mission was deflected for a time into building some much needed Sunday 
School rooms for the church. Obviously, it was not yet time to begin the mission, 
for the Nagazumi area (then called Nagao) consisted largely of rice paddies. We 
could not reach people in that area before there were people there to reach. It was 
at this time that for about nineteen months I served as interim pastor of the Kita 
Kyushu Baptist Church in Tobata. 

When I concluded my work with the Kita Kyushu Church March 27, 1966, the 
time had come for beginning the work at Nagazumi. By then an apartment com- 
plex of over twelve hundred units had been constructed and was fully occupied. 
Besides this, the area was now dotted with houses, newly built or under construe- 



BUILDING BRIDGES 155 

tion. The Hirao Church voted officially to start the new mission and to designate 
me as the pastor or person responsible to the church for it. 

At this time there were two members of the Hirao Church living in the area. 
Miyoko Morita, desiring to help with the work, had purposely rented a house near 
this area when she learned of the church's plan to start a mission in that section of 
the city. Though her husband was indifferent to the gospel, he gave his wife com- 
plete freedom in religious matters. A very earnest Christian and an active witness, 
Mrs. Morita was eager to expend her time and energies in the new work. 

Another lady, Keiko Igisu, having recently moved into one of the Nagazumi 
apartments, had moved her membership from a church across town to Hirao, the 
church nearest Nagazumi. She was a bright, open lady still in her twenties whose 
husband was not yet a Christian. She had a baby less than a year old. 

These two became a part of the witness in Nagazumi from the beginning, along 
with Seiya Yamashita, who had entered the seminary in April. I had baptized 
Yamashita-san about ten years earlier in the baptistry which we had built in the 
yard of the missionary residence at Hirao. Shortly after his baptism he moved to 
Tokyo and joined another Baptist church there. Then, after four years in college, 
he worked a few years until, under a sense of God's leadership, he entered the 
seminary in Fukuoka to prepare for the ministry. During his three years of semi- 
nary training, Yamashita-san worked closely with me as my assistant in the work 
at Nagazumi. 

The first problem which we confronted was that of finding a suitable meeting 
place. Pastor Shimizu and I investigated the possibility of renting the meeting hall 
in the community center in the middle of the apartment complex, only to discover 
that no meetings of any kind were allowed from noon on Saturday until Monday 
morning. The nearest kindergarten was a Buddhist one, so it was no surprise that 
those in charge refused to rent it to us on Sundays. The prospects of renting a 
room in the primary school nearby seemed no brighter. 

Then Shimizu-sensei and I visited Mrs. Igisu, who lived in a second-floor apart- 
ment in the large apartment complex. After hearing us relate our difficulties in 
finding a meeting place, she offered us the use of her apartment. 

"It is small," she explained, "but if you can use it, you are welcome to it. I have 
already talked with my husband about this possibility, and it is all right with him 
too." 

Feeling that this opening was an answer to prayer, we thanked her and made 
our plan to begin services there the second Sunday in May. The facilities open to 
us were a six-mat room and a four-and-one-half-mat room, a straw mat being six 
feet by three feet. These rooms opened into a small kitchen in which we found 
space for a little portable organ. 



156 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Since a well-known evangelist was holding some night meetings in the Fukuoka 
area about that time, we engaged him to speak in the apartment community center 
on Thursday and Friday mornings prior to the first Sunday service in Igisu-san's 
home on May 8. After preparing handbills to announce these special services as 
well as the Sunday services to follow, we visited each apartment and offered a 
personal invitation to the occupants to attend. As time allowed, we enlarged the 
circle of our visitation to include some of the houses in the immediate neighbor- 
hood. Never will I forget the pastor's wife, Mrs. Shimizu, with a baby strapped to 
her back in typical Japanese fashion, climbing the stairs of those five-story apart- 
ments to help us advertise the services. 

About twenty-five came each morning for the services in the community center 
and eleven attended the first Sunday service. Most of the eleven had been in the 
weekday services in the community center. The attendance from Sunday to Sun- 
day for the first year averaged thirteen, with a low of seven and a high of nineteen. 

As a rule, Kay played the organ, Yamashita-san presided, and I preached. Occa- 
sionally, a testimony from one of the Christians present would be included. All of 
us sat on cushions on the straw mats. Usually I preached from a kneeling position, 
a very good posture for services of this kind. Within a few months Mr. Igisu, in 
whose home we had been meeting, made his decision to become a Christian and 
was baptized. 

Mrs. Furuno, a member of a Reformed church near Tokyo, attended the first 
service held in the community center and continued to come. A second genera- 
tion Christian, she bore a warm testimony concerning the faithfulness of her par- 
ents to Christ during the difficult war days. She had recently moved to Fukuoka 
from Tokyo and had been praying that the Lord would lead her to a warm evan- 
gelical church near her apartment. Therefore, when she received the handbill tell- 
ing of the services in the community center and the weekly Sunday services to 
follow, she felt that her prayers had been answered. Though she never joined our 
church, she was as faithful as any member we had until she and her family moved 
back to Tokyo in October 1978. Most of the time she served as a Sunday School 
teacher. Her husband attended the Sunday services a few times, but we were 
never able to win him, despite repeated attempts. Her two children, one of whom 
was born the year after the work at Nagazumi was begun, were also faithful in the 
Sunday School. 

Mrs. Igisu and Mrs. Furuno spoke frequently of what the church meant to them. 
Both of them were new in the community and quite lonely when the mission 
began. Through the witness of the Nagazumi Mission, however, they found a 
warm spiritual fellowship and many close friends. 

Grateful as we were for having the Igisu home as a meeting place, we were 



BUILDING BRIDGES 157 

mindful of its limitations. It was packed when nineteen attended for a Sunday 
morning service, and overflowing when twenty-five attended a special revival 
service one evening. We were not able to develop a church program. Sunday 
School was out of the question. I felt that it would be an imposition to ask the 
Igisus to open their home for a midweek evening service, since they had a baby to 
put to sleep. Occasionally, as we would receive an invitation, we would have a 
daytime home meeting, but we had no regularly scheduled meetings of this sort. 
Mr. Igisu was in his early thirties, the age when Japanese men are so frequently 
transferred by their companies. What will we do for a meeting place if this family 
should move away?\ wondered. 

During this time I was mission chairman and making frequent trips. However, 
except for a short time in the summer when we were on vacation, I was always 
back by Sunday. In consultation with convention leaders, the mission had just 
worked out a plan for providing temporary meeting quarters for a mission when a 
missionary was in charge. 

The basic purpose of the new program was to provide the missionary with the 
tools he needed for his work. It is poor economy, the mission had concluded, for 
the Foreign Mission Board to pay a missionary's salary and all that is necessary to 
keep him on the field unless it is able also to provide him with the basic tools he 
needs for his work. A suitable meeting place for those engaged in direct evan- 
gelism was interpreted as one of these tools. 

The plan called for the Japan Mission to purchase a small plot of land and erect 
on it a temporary building, preferably a prefab. It would lend this rent-free to the 
missionary for a period of five years for use in developing a church. If the work 
prospered and showed promise of growing into a church, the missionary would 
work through the mother church of the Mission to have it put on the convention's 
priority list for money for land for a permanent building. This money, of course, 
would come from the Foreign Mission Board, but would be administered through 
the Convention. In the meantime, it would be the missionary's responsibility to 
teach this embryonic church the principles of stewardship so it could take the 
major responsibility for providing its permanent building. When the young church 
no longer needed its temporary building, it could be moved to a new location, and 
the land could be sold to provide money for purchasing land for a similar project 
elsewhere. 

The basic plan had been conceived by my good friend, Ralph Calcote, but as 
mission chairman I had helped negotiate it with the Convention leaders. The plan 
called for local church sponsorship and close consultation with the association of 
Baptist churches in the area and with the Japan Baptist Convention. 

At the time I was discussing this plan with Convention representatives, I had no 



158 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

idea that some day I might want to use it myself. However, as Kay and I reflected 
on the needs of the Nagazumi Mission, we came to feel that this might be an 
appropriate place to try the new plan. 

After talking with Pastor Shimizu and getting his enthusiastic approval, I dis- 
cussed the matter with the Igisu family in whose home we were meeting and the 
Nagazumi Mission and secured the understanding and approval of all. Then the 
plan was approved by the Hirao Church, explained to the Fukuoka Association, 
and approved by the executive committee of the Mission, with the concurrence of 
the executive committee of the Convention. 

Proceeding according to plan, we purchased an eighty-two tsubo lot on which 
we erected a thirty-two tsubo prefab. It had three Sunday School rooms and a 
library room on one side, as well as a tatami (straw mat) room in the back for 
mothers with small children. This room was equipped as a kitchen. The dedication 
service for the building was held September 10, 1967. From that time on we used 
the word church rather than mission, since the term mission is not well-under- 
stood in Japan. 

Attendance in the worship service doubled immediately. Now for the first time 
we were able to have a Sunday School, for God supplied the teachers just as we 
needed them. A Wednesday evening prayer service became a regular part of our 
church program and a women's group started meeting once a month. 

In the spring of 1968, Yamashita-san, the seminary student who was my assis- 
tant at Nagazumi, told me that Akemi Murata, a high school girl who had been 
attending the services, wanted us to visit her father who was very sick. Shigeru 
Murata was suffering from terminal cancer, but this information was concealed 
from us when we visited him. In talking with him we learned that he and his wife 
were both Christians. It did not take very long to discern that though this man was 
seriously ill he was spiritually very much alive. 

Knowing that Mr. Murata was too sick to read, I asked him if he would like to 
hear some of the tapes of my sermons which we recorded each Sunday. When he 
said he would, I brought him about twelve. A week or so later when I returned, I 
learned that he had listened to all of them and to some of them several times. 
Hearing that he needed blood, Yamashita-san and I visited the Red Cross Blood 
Bank and donated some blood. For this we received tickets redeemable at the 
blood bank. When we presented the tickets to the doctor at the hospital, we 
learned that Mr. Murata's condition was critical indeed. 

Two days later, early on the Tuesday morning of Passion Week, April 9, 1968, 
Yamashita-san and I were called to the hospital to be with Mrs. Murata and the 
family as Mr. Murata slipped away into eternity. I was then asked to conduct the 
funeral. 



BUILDING BRIDGES 159 

Mrs. Murata took the blow of the death of her husband with quiet faith and calm, 
knowing that he was now out of pain and with the Savior they both loved. After we 
had spent a few moments together in prayer, she was ready to contact a mortician 
and talk with me about the funeral service. 

Japanese law requires cremation as the mode of disposing of a body. There- 
fore, the art of embalming is virtually unknown. Since there is hardly enough land 
in Japan for the living, the dead are allotted only a bare minimum of space. Crema- 
tion is not only simpler than embalming; it is also much cheaper, one reason 
being that money is not spent on expensive caskets. 

The mortician dressed the body in a neat suit and placed it in a plain, narrow 
wooden box. Family members then placed flowers around the body in the wooden 
coffin. I conducted a short service for the family that evening and another one the 
next morning before the body was taken to the crematorium. During this second 
service in the home, each person present placed a flower on or around the body 
before the coffin was sealed. Mrs. Murata, as the nearest relative, drove the first 
nail before the coffin was securely sealed by the mortician. 

The crematorium was a dark, dingy building with crude wooden benches and a 
bare concrete floor. There were no private waiting rooms for the family, and there 
was no soft music to soothe the nerves. The wooden coffin was placed promptly 
into one of the six ovens, and after two hours we were called into another bleak 
room to remove some of the charred bones of the body and place them in an urn. 
Here again each one took his turn, with the closest family members going first. 

The funeral service at the church that afternoon was a triumphant one bearing 
witness to the glory of the gospel and the hope we have in Jesus Christ. It was 
attended by friends of the family and a large delegation from the court where Mr. 
Murata had served as clerk, as well as family members and some people from 
Nagazumi Church. In the funeral message I spoke of how Mr. Murata as a layman 
had sought to witness for his Lord by teaching a Bible class at his place of work 
during the lunch hour and by conducting a worship service in his home each week 
for people in the neighborhood. 

Easter Sunday, five days after her father's death, Akemi Murata, the high school 
student who had first told us about Mr. Murata, gave her confession of faith at our 
church and was baptized. Before his death, Mr. Murata had encouraged his 
daughter to take this step, saying, "That missionary preaches the gospel." 

A few weeks later, Masae Murata, Akemi-san's mother, was received into our 
church on the basis of her confession of faith. She and her husband had together 
trusted Christ several years earlier. They had been baptized by sprinkling, the 
method practiced by the church they were attending. Later, under the influence of 
a German missionary who belonged to the Plymouth Brethren, they had both 



160 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

been baptized by immersion. Surely Mrs. Murata did not need another baptism. 

The genuineness of her Christian faith was evident from her confession, and 
this has been demonstrated by many years of consistent Christian living since 
that time. 

"I prayed for my husband to get well," she said. "I thought that if he died I might 
lose my faith in God, but after his death the Lord sustained and comforted me." 

In her testimony then and many times later she spoke of what my ministry had 
meant to her during this time of sorrow. She said that whenever she was feeling 
lonely or sad she would simply switch on the tape recorder and listen to one of my 
sermons, and she would be given the needed strength. 

Mrs. Murata continued to work at the school for handicapped children where 
she had been employed for many years before her husband's death. Serving the 
Lord through the Nagazumi Baptist Church became the heart and center of her 
life. Through her work as Sunday School superintendent, she has helped our 
church develop one of the best Sunday Schools in the city. 



17 
Seminary— At Home and Abroad 



Teaching in the seminary became more and more enjoyable as I became more 
proficient in the language and able to engage in dialogue with the students. In 
the mid-1960s, I took on the added responsibility of teaching in the Japan branch 
of the Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary. 

This seminary had arisen to meet the need felt by many of our Baptist semi- 
naries in Asia for offering graduate work in an Asian context. In some countries, 
particularly Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea, there was the tendency on the part of 
those sent to America for advanced study to remain in the States rather than re- 
turn to their countries for service. This tendency, which arose largely because of 
the political and economic conditions within these countries, has never been a 
problem for us in Japan. 

Baptist seminaries in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indo- 
nesia, Malaysia, and Thailand cooperated in this project. Hong Kong was selected 
as the seminary headquarters. Four seminaries were designated as teaching 
branches: The Philippines, Old Testament; Hong Kong, Church History and New 
Testament; Taiwan, Theology; Japan, New Testament. This meant that each 
teaching branch did not have to offer a full curriculum, but could specialize in a 
particular area, and that the students could choose the branch seminary accord- 
ing to the field of study in which they wished to major. Each teaching branch then 
could seek to build up its library in the field of its specialty. The Foreign Mission 
Board stood behind this project and undergirded it with finances and its moral 
support. 

I was a member of the study committee which worked out the plan for this semi- 
nary and attended the meeting of the Board of Trustees in Baguio, the Philip- 
pines, in November of 1959 when it was officially constituted as the Asia Baptist 
Graduate Theological Seminary (ABGTS). Serving in various capacities on the 
board, I helped formulate the basic policies of the seminary. One of these was that 
there would always be two members of the board from each of the cooperating 
seminaries, one a missionary and the other a national. Serving on the board gave 

161 



162 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

me an opportunity to visit the seminaries in Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, 
Malaysia, and Thailand when the board meetings were held in these countries. 

Max Garrott and I worked together in the New Testament field in Japan. His area 
of specialty was Greek and New Testament exegesis, while mine was New Testa- 
ment theology. For the short time that Archie Nations was with us before he 
joined the teaching staff of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake 
Forest, North Carolina, he added strength in every area of New Testament 
studies, particularly New Testament background. 

A guided reading course which surveyed the whole field being offered was a 
required course in every branch seminary. This course was particularly demand- 
ing for both the students and faculty members. Sometimes in the course we had 
two professors but only one student. 

Two faculty members of Seinan Gakuin University were graduated from the 
Japan branch of ABGTS in the 1960s. Kazuo Nakamura, who played a leading role 
on the translation committee of the Protestant-Catholic common version of the 
New Testament which was published in 1978, wrote his thesis on Greek tenses, 
under Max Garrott's supervision. Masamitsu Yatsuda, a Christianity professor and 
chaplain in Seinan University, wrote his thesis under my supervision on the con- 
tribution of C. H. Dodd in the field of New Testament studies. Since both of these 
men had studied in America before doing their work at ABGTS, they were quite 
proficient in English, the chief language of instruction. 

The reading demanded from the student and the professor in this graduate work 
was quite voluminous. For example, in one course I offered on the "Life and 
Teachings of Jesus," Yatsuda-sensei and I studied together over twenty of the 
most important books on the subject. 

Yatsuda-sensei's thesis on C. H. Dodd was published for limited distribution by 
the Research Institute of Seinan Gakuin University under the title Toward an 
Understanding of C. H. Dodd. This book received the special commendation of 
Dodd, the world-famous New Testament scholar who was then in his late seven- 
ties, and opened the way for Yatsuda-sensei to do his 1968-69 sabbatical study at 
Oxford University under Professor Dodd's special supervision. 

In the academic world there is an unwritten rule: "Publish or perish." There- 
fore, I was very gratified when in the fall of 1966 the William B. Eerdmans Publish- 
ing Company published my book Interpreting the Atonement. Eerdmans accepted 
the manuscript exactly as I submitted it, title and all, and, as far as I know, did not 
alter a line of it. 

I read somewhere recently that Jules Verne's first novel, Five Weeks in a Bal- 
loon, was rejected by fifteen publishers before it was accepted by a sixteenth, 
and became an immediate best seller. My book on the atonement was rejected by 



SEMINARY— AT HOME AND ABROAD 163 

four publishers before it was accepted by a fifth. Unlike Verne's book, it never 
made the best seller list. 

Mine was certainly a well-traveled manuscript, for it flew back and forth across 
the Pacific several times before Eerdmans accepted it. One publisher said it could 
not accept the manuscript because it was at that time in the process of publishing 
another book on the same subject, but the others said they were turning it down 
for fear it would not sell. 

The atonement has been of special interest to me ever since as a ten-year-old 
boy I accepted Christ as my Savior, believing that he had died on the cross for my 
sins. Hymns and sermons on the cross have always had a strange power to stir my 
emotions and call forth an attitude of gratitude and praise. The confidence that 
Christ died for my sins has never been shaken, but through the years the desire 
has grown to understand in a measure how the death of one almost two thousand 
years ago could have saving significance for believers of all time. I felt that some 
understanding of this truth was essential for an effective communication of the 
message. 

A seminar on the atonement under Dr. Dale Moody while I was doing graduate 
work had been a big stimulus along the way. Also I had dealt with certain aspects 
of the subject in my doctoral dissertation on The Pauline Doctrine of Love, and 
later in a biblical treatment of the subject in one of the first courses I offered in the 
seminary in Fukuoka. 

The book itself grew out of my lectures on systematic theology in the seminary. 
I really hadn't thought of having it published until I had completed a rough draft. 
Words of encouragement from Wayne Ward and Eric Rust while we were on fur- 
lough led me to rework it a bit and have it typed for publication. 

Since the book was prepared with theological students in mind, the main use 
that it found was as a textbook in seminaries. It was used rather extensively in 
courses on the atonement and in general courses on systematic theology in 
Southeastern, Southern, and Southwestern seminaries. 

My colleague on the seminary faculty, Kazuo Nakamura, translated my book 
into Japanese and had it published in 1968 by the Kyodan (United Church of 
Japan). 

Most of the reviews of the book were rather positive. Dr. W. Boyd Hunt, Profes- 
sor of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote: "I regard 
this as the ablest and most helpful general work on the doctrine of the atonement 
which is currently available. The treatment is judiciously balanced between bib- 
lical, historical, and reconstructive aspects of the subject." 

Some interpreted the book as an attack on the penal substitutionary view of the 
atonement. I did emphasize that representative sacrifice, not penal substitution, 



164 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

was the proper category for an understanding of the Old Testament system of 
levitical sacrifice. However, it was certainly not my intention to attack the penal 
substitutionary view as such nor to deny any validity to it. Rather, I sought to show 
that all of the historical views of the atonement have a biblical basis and that no 
one of them is adequate by itself. Each tends to err in interpreting one aspect of 
the subject as the whole, thereby ignoring or distorting other aspects of the bib- 
lical witness. The point which I sought to make, and which I spelled out even more 
clearly in my preface to the Japanese edition, was that even at the risk of seeming 
to lack theological precision we must give due weight to the variety of biblical 
witness on the subject. In the last chapter, after treating some basic principles of 
interpretation, I emphasized the cross of Christ as the supreme revelation of the 
amazing depths of God's love; as God's judgment upon man's sins; as God's 
decisive action by which we are delivered from all of the evil powers which hold us 
in bondage: sin, the law, death, and the devil; and as the representative sacrifice 
for our sins through which our sins are covered and through which by faith we can 
make our approach to the holy God. 

Along with the joy of teaching and writing was that of fellowship with the Japa- 
nese members of the seminary faculty. One of these was Masaaki Kobayashi, who 
joined the faculty in 1964 in the field of church history after having completed two 
years of study at the Baptist Theological Seminary in RGschlikon, Switzerland. 
Studying in that international atmosphere, he acquired a proficiency in English 
and German that was truly remarkable. Once when Dr. Martin Niemuller, the 
world famous submarine captain who had been imprisoned for his faith during 
World War II, spoke at our seminary in Fukuoka, Kobayashi-sensei interpreted the 
lecture into Japanese. Dr. Niemuller presented his message in English from a 
prepared manuscript, but during the question and answer period that followed, he 
gave his answers in German. Much to the amazement of all of us, Kobayashi- 
sensei interpreted from both languages quite smoothly without any difficulty at 
all. 

I will never forget the testimony which Kobayashi-sensei gave at Kasugabaru 
Baptist Church in Fukuoka in the fall of 1966 prior to his ordination to the gospel 
ministry. After relating some of the privations which he and his family had suf- 
fered during the war and soon thereafter, he told of joining with other workers in 
ridiculing a Christian during the lunch hour in a DDT factory where he worked. 

"Don't you know that religion is the opiate of the people?" they said jeeringly. 
"You know you can't believe the Bible in an age of science. It's just a bunch of 
fairytales." 

Without trying to give a scholarly answer to these jibes, the young man simply 
gave his testimony. "I can't answer your charges," he said, "but I know that when 



SEMINARY— AT HOME AND ABROAD 165 

I opened my heart to Christ and let him come into my life I found a new joy and 
peace I had never known before. To me that is real, and no matter what you say 
you can't take it away from me. ' ' 

Hearing this simple testimony given under such adverse circumstances, 
Kobayashi-san began to feel a burning sense of shame for the part he had played 
in the ridicule. When others returned to their work, he went to this fellow worker 
and apologized. 

"That's all right," the young man answered. "By the way, we are having a 
special service at our church tonight. How about going with me?" 

Accepting the invitation, Kobayashi-san went to church with his new friend that 
night. It was his first time to be inside a church. The people were poorly dressed 
and obviously were in no better financial circumstances than himself. Yet there 
was a glow on their faces that seemed to come from the inside. The preacher that 
evening was a nisei, a second-generation Japanese-American in the occupation 
army. He spoke very poor Japanese, but his sincerity was evident as he explained 
his text, John 3:16. 

At this point in his testimony, Kobayashi-sensei read that verse: "Kami wa sono 
hitorigo o tamaou hodo ni kono yo o ai shitamaeri ..." ("For God so loved the 
world that he gave his only begotten Son . . . "). His eyes filled with tears, and his 
voice choked up. For a moment he could go no further, for he was reliving the 
experience which came to him when he first heard those wonderful words— words 
that I had heard all of my life and tended to take for granted. 

After pausing a moment he tried to continue but had to wait again as he choked 
back the sobs. Then he finished the sentence: "Sore wa miko o shinzuru mono no 
horobizu shite, eien no inochi o en tame nari . . . "("that whosoever believeth in 
him should not perish but have everlasting life"). Just as through the gleam in the 
eyes of a little child one discovers anew the wonder of Christmas, that day 
through Kobayashi-sensei's tears I discovered anew the glory of the gospel 
message. 

Just before we left Japan for our third furlough in the summer of 1968, 1 went to 
see Kobayashi-sensei, where he was a patient in a nearby hospital. He had been 
suffering from asthma for some time, but I had no idea how serious the problem 
was. Thus it came as a tremendous shock to me when about two months later I 
heard of his death on August 12. During a coughing attack he had choked to death 
while his wife held him and struggled in vain to help him. His sudden departure 
from us at age forty left a big gap in the seminary faculty. 

We returned to the States by way of southeast Asia and Europe at the beginning 
of our third furlough. A distant view of Red China from the Crown Colony of Hong 
Kong, a boat trip through the canals in Bangkok, the stark contrast between the 



166 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

opulence of the wealthy and the poverty of the poor in Bombay, the garden tomb 
in Jerusalem, the Parthenon in Athens, the catacombs in Rome, the Baptist semi- 
nary in Ruschlikon, the grandeur of the Alps near Grundewald, the evidence of 
man's inhumanity to man in the concentration camp at Dachau near Munich, the 
Louvre in Paris, the Ann Frank house in Amsterdam, the changing of the guard at 
Buckingham Palace in London— these were a few of the highlights of our trip. 

Having completed her high school course at Canadian Academy, Cathy re- 
turned with us to enter Westhampton College at the University of Richmond. This 
was one of the factors that led us to spend our third furlough at Southeastern 
Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. It was strategically 
located between Richmond, Virginia, where Cathy was to be in school and where 
Kay's folks lived, and Georgia, where my parents and my brother and his family 
lived. A short while before our furlough my brother and his family had moved to 
Conyers, Georgia, about twenty miles east of Atlanta. James had become presi- 
dent of the Bank of Rockdale there. 

A few years earlier the Browns had moved from Southern Seminary to South- 
eastern. At the time we arrived, Ray was dean of the seminary as well as Profes- 
sor of New Testament. We made mutual plans with Ray and Caralie to spend as 
much time with them as possible during our furlough. 

My project for the year was some research on Christology. I had in mind a com- 
panion volume to my book on the atonement, which I planned to call Interpreting 
the Incarnation. I soon discovered that for the time I had, the subject was too big 
and the problems too intractable. My work was interrupted abruptly in December 
by Daddy's sudden death, and I did not get back to it until about two months later. 
When I returned to it after this interval, I used the study of James Tull, Professor of 
Theology, which he offered me while he was on sabbatical in Chicago, and typed 
about seventy pages on the subject— a bare fraction of the work I had earlier envi- 
sioned. This material was later translated into Japanese and published as four 
articles in Shingaku Ronshu, the scholarly journal of the Theological Department 
of Seinan Gakuin University. 

That year we were very comfortably situated in a new house owned by the Ben 
Johnson family, who were on sabbatical leave in Vienna, Austria. Ben was Profes- 
sor of Music at the seminary. 

In October of that year Mother and Daddy had visited us at Wake Forest. It was 
only the second time they had come to see us, the first time having been eighteen 
years earlier when they came to Louisville to see me get the Th.D. degree from 
Southern Seminary. Delighted with this opportunity to entertain my parents, Kay 
and I determined to do all we could to make their visit a memorable one. We enter- 
tained various faculty members in our home, while others entertained us. 



SEMINARY— AT HOME AND ABROAD 167 

One day while showing Daddy the seminary library, I made a point of looking up 
Martin Luther King's letter "From the Birmingham Jail" in the May 27, 1963 issue 
of Christianity and Crisis and giving it to him to read. I was mindful that King had 
never been a hero to most Southern whites, particularly those who, like Daddy, 
had been brought up in the segregationist tradition. But I saw tears come to his 
eyes as he read King's explanation of the dehumanizing effects of segregation 
upon the Negro: what it means to have to try to explain to your six-year-old 
daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park just advertised on tele- 
vision and see tears well up within her eyes as she is told that Funtown is closed 
to colored children; what it means to "take a cross-country trip and find it neces- 
sary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile 
because no motel will accept you"; what it means when "your first name is 
'nigger' and your middle name 'boy' (no matter how old) and your last name 
'John', and your wife is never given the respected title of 'Mrs.' " Daddy under- 
stood and had nothing to say in answer. 

Truly Daddy had come a long way! I felt that he could read this with understand- 
ing because I had heard him telling some friends of his generation what it meant 
to him the first time a black student at the college in Tifton sat down in the pew in 
front of him at the First Baptist Church. He explained: "You know, somehow I felt 
a little nearer God." 

On Wednesday, December 4, during the Week of Prayer for Foreign Missions, I 
gave the Missionary Day address in the chapel at Southeastern Seminary on 
"Motives for Missions." I felt that it was well-received. Thursday night about 9:30 
Kay and I came home from a speaking engagement of hers. The pastor of the Bap- 
tist church on the campus and the seminary president were at our home to tell us 
that word had come that Daddy had died of a heart attack. 

Immediately, I called home. A neighbor answered the phone and told me that 
Daddy had passed away a little while after supper and that James and his family 
should be arriving any minute. Kay and I flew to Albany the next day. Daddy's 
younger brother, Roland, met us and drove us to Tifton. Cathy came in from Rich- 
mond the next day shortly before the funeral. 

Daddy's beloved pastor, W. Ches Smith, III, conducted the funeral service Sat- 
urday afternoon, December 7. In his funeral message he compared Daddy with 
Barnabas, "a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith." The sky was heavily 
overcast, and there was a light drizzle when we entered the church for the service. 
During the sermon the sun broke through the stained glass windows and flooded 
the casket and the pew where our family sat. How like the light of the resurrection! 
I thought. Then I recalled something Daddy had told me when we were back for 
our first furlough. Speaking of the time in 1954 when he had a serious heart attack, 



168 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

he said, "I faced death, and I was not afraid." My heart was comforted. Later as 
the casket was placed above the open grave, I realized that soon his body would 
be buried, but I was sustained by the faith that his spirit had already gone to be 
with Jesus. 

The night of the funeral we had a feast, for neighbors and friends had brought in 
all we could eat for several days. Some of my mother's brothers kept us all laugh- 
ing with amusing tales of their childhood in Camesville. How therapeutic that 
laughter was for us all! I kept thinking how much Daddy would have enjoyed that 
time and how he would have matched story for story. 

Mother held up in a remarkable way through all of this, but she was near ex- 
haustion when the weekend was over and James and his family had returned to 
Conyers, Cathy to Richmond, and the relatives who had come for the funeral to 
their homes. Kay and I were grateful beyond measure that we could be at home at 
that time to minister to Mother as best we could. Through the years James and his 
wife had borne the burden of family responsibility. Now it was our turn. We deter- 
mined to be with Mother as long as she needed us. 

For many years Mother had been suffering from chronic insomnia. She had a 
set routine each day, which included a rest period in the afternoon, but with the 
telephone and the doorbell ringing constantly she was unable to get her rest. Kay 
and I tried to shield her as much as we could and take care of things at the house 
which needed to be done. Mother insisted on seeing all who came to visit her. 
Over and over, she told of the exact circumstances of Daddy's death, and day by 
day she became more depressed. 

On December 19, two weeks to the day from Daddy's death, Charlie Matthews, 
for almost forty years Daddy's right-hand man in the bank, was killed in an acci- 
dent while hunting alone. Mother insisted on visiting Mrs. Matthews, because she 
had visited us after Daddy's death. 

Nothing we could say could keep her from attending the funeral. By the time the 
service was over Mother was so depressed that she hardly knew what was going 
on. The family doctor advised shock treatments, which had brought her out of a 
deep depression several years earlier. James concurred. Following this advice, 
Kay and I drove Mother to Augusta on December 23 and had her admitted to the 
hospital for shock treatments. To place Mother in the hospital like that and then go 
off and leave her was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. 

On Christmas Eve we drove to Conyers to spend the holidays with my brother 
and his family. Cathy joined us there. It was the saddest Christmas I can remem- 
ber. Daddy was dead, and Mother was in the hospital alone. 

Ten days later when we returned to the hospital to get Mother and take her to 
her home, she was perfectly relaxed and as docile as a little child. She had forgot- 



SEMINARY— AT HOME AND ABROAD 169 

ten everything relating to Daddy's death, and several days passed before she 
asked about Daddy. Our simple explanation that Daddy had died of a heart attack 
the previous month satisfied her for a time, but then she became concerned be- 
cause she could not remember his death. Gradually various things that had 
slipped from Mother's memory returned, but the shock of Daddy's death and 
memory of the details connected with it were gone. 

For forty-seven years Mother had lived under the shadow of the dominating 
personality of her husband. During all of this time she had been completely 
dependent upon him. She had never even written a check, for Daddy had taken 
care of all financial matters. James and I feared that Mother would not be able to 
live alone. James suggested that she come to Conyers and build a small house 
near them. We even thought of having her move back to Carnesville where two of 
her brothers and her sister, Ottie, also a widow, were living. But Mother wouldn't 
hear to it. Her roots were in Tifton and in Tifton she was going to stay! 

After about a month she insisted that we go on back to Wake Forest. "This is 
something I am going to have to learn to live with," she said. On the way back to 
Southeastern we drove Mother up to Conyers and left her with James and Caro- 
lyn. But she wouldn't stay long. She insisted that she wanted to be in her own 
home. From time to time, James drove back to Tifton to check on Mother and help 
her keep her financial affairs in order. During the Easter weekend Mother flew 
with my brother and his family to Raleigh, where we met them and took them to 
our place in Wake Forest. It was Mother's first flight. 

On May 10, we received a phone call from the Foreign Mission Board, notifying 
us that Edwin B. Dozier had died that day in Fukuoka of a heart attack. He was 
chancellor of Seinan Gaukuin, and there is little doubt that tension relating to 
student unrest at that time was a contributing factor to the heart attack. 

Right away we called the Doziers' youngest child, Adelia Ann Colthorp. Dea 
Ann, as she was called, and her husband, Cameron Colthorp, were living in Dur- 
ham in the Baptist Student Union building near the Duke University campus. That 
night we drove over to Durham, only twenty-six miles away, to share their sorrow. 
Separated from her family at a time like this, Dea Ann needed to talk with some- 
one who had known and loved her father. 

In our concern about Mother, we wondered for a time whether we would be able 
to return to Japan on schedule. But Mother showed a strength we never knew she 
had. "Go on back to Japan," she told us. "Don't worry about me. I've learned to 
practice the presence of God." And she had! Whenever she would get lonely, she 
would visit a saintly lady in the community and spend some prayer time with her. 
Truly Mother also had come a long way. 

Before our return to Japan in June of 1969, we attended the Furloughing Mis- 



1 70 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

sionaries Conference in New Orleans, where I presented a Bible study on Philip- 
pians 2:5-1 1 . The conference was held at this time in this city to provide us all with 
the opportunity of attending the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention 
which began just after our conference closed. It was the second convention Kay 
and I had attended since our appointment as missionaries. 

Our return trip to Japan was our last ocean voyage, for soon after this the Amer- 
ican President Lines discontinued passenger service across the Pacific. Cathy 
went back to Japan with us for the summer. She had not adjusted too well to 
America, and she had no job and no place to stay during the summer holidays. 

George and Helen Hays had done interim work for us at Nagazumi Church while 
we were on furlough. The summer we returned Akemi Murata, whom I had bap- 
tized on Easter Sunday following her father's death, organized a retreat for the 
young people. She was the only young person in our church membership at that 
time, but four young people made decisions during that retreat to become Chris- 
tians and all followed through with baptism. 

In December of 1969, we were able to purchase a plot of 186 tsubo as the 
permanent location for our church. The purchase price was $36,000, 80 percent of 
which had come from the Foreign Mission Board through the Convention. The 
other 20 percent had come from our mother church, the offerings of our people, 
and a few special gifts we had received. How I wish we could have bought twice 
that much land! Land values in the area increased to the point that in less than ten 
years the property was worth more than five times the yen purchase price; and 
with the devaluation of the dollar, it would have taken almost ten times as many 
dollars to purchase that lot. The location was an ideal one, about a five-minute 
walk from the prefab we were then using. We would have to wait a few years to get 
enough money for building, but it was good to know that we had a suitable lot for 
the future. 

One Monday morning in the latter part of January 1970, Kay and I were on the 
way to the airport. I was leaving for Taiwan, where I had been invited to lead four 
Bible studies at the prayer retreat of the Taiwan Baptist Mission. Kay was planning 
to take the car then and drive to another part of the city where she had some hos- 
pitality responsibilities at the station meeting beginning at 10:00 AM. One of the 
passages I had chosen for a Bible study was 1 Corinthians 13, which I believe to 
be the greatest treatise on love ever written. 

That morning a fire along the route we normally took to the airport made it nec- 
essary for us to take a detour. It was a narrow road I had never taken before, and 
traffic was almost at a standstill. In this situation Kay began to worry and fret: 
"We're not going to make it on time! I'm sure we're not going to make it," she 
said. 



SEMINARY— AT HOME AND ABROAD 171 

"Just relax," I answered. "Traffic conditions are going to get better in a minute. 
I'll make my plane, and you'll get to your meeting on time." I was congratulating 
myself on my composure. We had switched roles completely, for normally under 
such circumstances I was the tense one and she was relaxed. 

Gradually, traffic conditions did improve, and we were able to make up lost time. 
It was now evident that, barring some unforeseen circumstances, we would get to 
the airport on time. Just at the point where I was getting ready to turn off diag- 
onally on a road leading to the airport, which was already in sight, a taxi darted in 
front of me and impeded my progress for a full two seconds. 

Why it happened I do not know, but I became irrationally angry. I pursued the 
taxi with my hand on the horn for a half mile or more. 

"Stop that! Stop that!" Kay screamed, but to no avail. I was going to make 
doubly certain that taxi driver knew how I felt. 

Finally, when I had calmed down enough for reason to take control again, I 
began reflecting on what I had done. I realized I had been saying to that cab driver: 
"Get out of my way! Don't you know that I'm on my way to Taiwan to tell those 
missionaries down there how important it is to put into practice the kind of love 
Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13!" 

wretched man that I am! How far I miss the mark! 



18 
Cathy Calling 



"May Day! May Day!" This is a distress signal used by vessels at sea and air- 
craft in flight when disaster is imminent. These words took on new meaning for us 
in the spring of 1970, for it was on May 1 of that year, May Day, that we received a 
telephone call that sent me flying home before the day was over to try to save our 
daughter, Cathy, from what appeared to be certain tragedy. 

Cathy was near the end of her sophomore year in Westhampton College. We 
had been aware for some time that she was not happy at Westhampton. Her 
grades were good. In fact, she was on the dean's list, but she was unhappy be- 
cause she didn't seem to fit in. For a while she talked of transferring to another 
college, but at the end of her freshman year made the decision herself to stay at 
Westhampton. She had a boy friend at the time, and this was probably the deci- 
sive factor in her decision. 

Midway in her sophomore year Cathy broke up with this boy friend. He was 
wanting to get serious, but she felt that there were too many differences between 
them to allow for the building of a permanent relationship. One of these differ- 
ences was his Catholic faith. 

After this we could tell by her occasional letters that Cathy was quite restless. 
She wrote us in the early part of the year for permission to transfer to Sophia Uni- 
versity, a Catholic school in Tokyo. Obviously, she wanted to get back to Japan. 
But she was scheduled to come to Japan in the summer on a trip paid for by the 
Foreign Mission Board. Since most of Cathy's courses at Westhampton required a 
full year's work for completion, a transfer in midyear would cost her virtually a full 
year of college credits. With these considerations in mind, I said no. 

Next, she started talking about transferring to Mary Washington College in 
Fredericksburg, Virginia. Kay and I encouraged her to investigate this possibility 
fully. 

As the time for her summer visit approached, we kept asking her to tell us of her 
travel plans, but there was no response from her side. Then on April 27 we re- 
ceived a letter from her saying: "I may bring C. B. (not the real initials) home with 

172 



CATHY CALLING 173 

me. He's the boy through whom I found God." Those words seemed strange to 
me, for I thought she had "found God" as a child. And who was C. B.? This was 
the first mention she had made of him. And there was still no word about when 
she planned to come to Japan. 

Two days later I received another letter from Cathy saying that she planned to 
marry C. B. "We'll build a house in the woods and have beautiful babies," she 
wrote. "He'll build tables and we'll dance and sing." The whole letter seemed to 
be divorced from reality. How is C. B. going to support her? I wondered. 

We tried to read between the lines to learn all we could about C. B. All that 
Cathy's letter told us was that he was a sophomore football player at the Univer- 
sity of Richmond. He planned to transfer to Boston University, where he would 
study philosophy. Cathy would go with him to Boston and enter the Boston 
Museum Art School. A snapshot she enclosed showed him as typically hippie- 
long hair, mustache, and jeans with holes in them. 

Immediately, I sat down and composed a three-page letter about the serious- 
ness of marriage. Pointing out that we had not even heard of C. B. until two days 
earlier, I pleaded with her not to rush into anything which might wreck her life. 

That night at 3:00 AM we were awakened by a phone call. The operator spoke: 
"I've a collect call from Cathy Culpepper for Dr. Robert Culpepper. Will you accept 
the charges?" 

"Yes, I will," I answered. 

"Hello, Daddy. This is Cathy. I've dropped out of Westhampton!" 

"You've done what?" 

"Yeah, I've dropped out of school. I broke their stupid rules and in a little while 
I'm going to speak to the student body to tell them why I did it and why they should 
too." 

Before I could respond to this, Cathy continued: "And I'm going to marry C. B. 
Will you perform the wedding? And will Mother come to it?" 

After this no more was mentioned about the school situation. Rather, I spent 
about forty minutes on an overseas call trying to persuade Cathy not to do any- 
thing hastily but to go to her Uncle Stuart's place in Richmond and wait for my 
letter. After she had received the letter I would talk with her again. She seemed to 
be hearing very little that I said, but she finally did promise that she would go to 
her Uncle Stuart's and wait for my letter. Kay and I went back to bed, but sleep 
was out of the question for the rest of the night. 

The next night at precisely the same hour, 3:00 AM, the phone rang again. 

"This is Dean Gehring at Westhampton College," the lady on the other line 
said. "Have you heard that Cathy has dropped out of school?" 

"Yes, we have." 



174 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

"Would you like to hear the background of it?" 

"We certainly would!" 

Very concisely Dean Gehring related what had happened. Cathy had signed out 
for the weekend to go to her Uncle Stuart's place on the Rappahannock River. 
When she didn't return on time, the school called her uncle, and he said they had 
not seen Cathy all weekend. Called on the carpet for this infraction of school 
rules, Cathy denounced the rules as stupid because they dealt with the social life 
and not the academic life of the students, and she went before the student body to 
attack them. 

Dean Gehring went on to say that Cathy's professors reported they had noticed 
a distinct personality change in Cathy during the last few weeks. She said the boy 
Cathy was dating had been married before, but purportedly the marriage was 
annulled. The clincher was the statement: "He is reported to be on drugs." 

"Where is Cathy now?" I asked. 

"We don't know. She is not at school. We've checked with her uncle here in 
Richmond, and she is not there either," she answered. 

Obviously, Cathy had not kept her promise to me. By the time the conversation 
was over the May Day signal was sounding loud and clear. And the date was 
May1. 

Kay and I sat up the rest of the night and planned our course of action. I would 
return to the US immediately, while she would stay for a few days to sort out our 
personal things so that if our return to Japan should be delayed and we needed to 
have our clothes and household goods sent to us, others would know what to do. 

At 7:00 AM, I began making some of the needed phone calls: to the mission 
chairman, asking him to gain permission for our return from the executive com- 
mittee of the mission and from the FMB; to the mission treasurer to make financial 
arrangements for our travel; to responsible people in the Nagazumi Mission to 
explain as best I could, amid sobs, that we were leaving on an emergency fur- 
lough; to Pastor Shimizu of the Hirao Church to ask him to make arrangements for 
the preaching at the Nagazumi Mission for the next six months; to Kay's brother, 
Stuart S. Sanderson, Jr., in Richmond to tell him I was returning immediately and 
to inform him of my arrival time. "Thank God!" was Stuart's spontaneous re- 
sponse. 

Next, I went to the seminary and met for a brief time with the faculty. Less than a 
month after the beginning of the school year, the seminary would have to try to 
find people to teach my courses. 

Kay drove me to the airport. My smallpox immunization had expired, and I had to 
get a revaccination there before leaving. But I did make the 1:00 PM JAL flight for 
Tokyo. In a telephone conversation with our mission treasurer I had learned that 



CATHY CALLING 175 

Dr. James D. Belote, the FMB secretary for East Asia, was arriving at the airport in 
Tokyo that afternoon shortly after my arrival there. I should have time to talk with 
him before leaving from Tokyo at 5:30 that afternoon. 

The timing was perfect, for I had about an hour with Dr. Belote. He pledged me 
the full cooperation of the Foreign Mission Board and assured me that he and 
others would be praying for Cathy and for Kay and me. 

Aboard the plane, I kept wondering what had gone wrong. How had this hap- 
pened? It was too early then to answer that question. The important thing now was 
for us to do all we could to save Cathy. "0 God, give me strength and wisdom," I 
prayed. "And bless Kay and Cathy!" 

The flight to Richmond took me through Anchorage and Chicago. From Chicago 
I called Stuart to find out how things were in Richmond. He told me that he had 
learned from some of Cathy's friends where the hippies hung out. He had gone 
there, found Cathy, and brought her home. She had seemed happy to learn that I 
was on the way. But then as they were sitting at the supper table Cathy had heard 
a horn blow and had jumped up from the table, raced out to the car, and sped 
away. Stuart tried to pursue them, but before he could get started C. B.'s sports 
car was out of sight. It appeared doubtful that Cathy would be at the airport to 
greet me when I arrived in Richmond. 

Much to my surprise and relief, however, Cathy was at the Byrd Airport with 
Stuart and Jean when I stepped off the plane at 11:30 PM. It was still May 1. And 
for me the day was not yet over. 

"Daddy, this is C. B.," Cathy said as she greeted me. 

"Can't we get rid of this guy so we can talk?" I said rudely. I was surprised to 
see him there, and not at all prepared to talk with him at that time. 

Cathy said a few words to C. B., and he left. Then she got into the backseat of 
Stuart's car with me, and Stuart drove us to the Sanderson home. 

We talked until after 4:00 AM, but it was obvious that we weren't operating on 
the same wavelength. Cathy defended her action in dropping out of school. To 
hear her tell it, it was the school's fault, not hers. Besides, she wasn't going to 
need any credits from Westhampton. She was going to enter Boston Museum Art 
School and wouldn't need them there. She was sure I would like C. B. when I got 
to know him, but whether I did or not, she was going to marry him. 

Before we went to bed I called Kay and also let her speak with Cathy a few 
minutes. I knew she was waiting to hear from me. It was Saturday afternoon in 
Japan, a good time to talk with her. She told me that other Baptist missionaries in 
the city had come to help her pack and put things in order. Pastor Shimizu had met 
that day with Leroy Seat and someone from the Nagazumi Mission, and they had 
made out a preaching schedule at Nagazumi for the next six months. Kay said that 



176 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

she would be arriving Monday night on the same plane I had taken. About 5:00 AM 
I went to bed. For me this had been "the longest day." 

Determined not to leave any stone unturned in finding whatever might help us in 
dealing with this problem, I was up by 9:00 AM. That morning I made a visit to 
Westhampton College to talk with Dean Gehring and some of Cathy's friends. I got 
back in time to speak with C. B. as he came by to get Cathy. This time I talked as 
civilly as I could and made plans to take him and Cathy out to lunch on Sunday. 

Cathy had promised to go to church with me Sunday morning. But Saturday 
night I was too keyed up to sleep. Besides, my nights and days were reversed, 
since Richmond time was thirteen hours behind that of Japan. I stayed awake all 
night until time to get up, when drowsiness overtook me. Knowing that if I went to 
church I would sleep through the service, I told Cathy we'd go to church together 
another time and went back to bed. 

Cathy and I kept the lunch date with C. B., but I purposely kept the conversation 
on a superficial level. I wanted to avoid any more unpleasantness at that time. That 
afternoon I met with Dr. Franklin Fowler, the medical consultant for the Foreign 
Mission Board. He told me that the FMB stood ready to help in any way it could 
and suggested that we try to get Cathy to consult a psychiatrist. 

Cathy went with me to meet her mother at the airport Monday night. All the way 
home she talked about the wedding. 

It happened that at that time one of the FMB apartments was open, and we were 
allowed to move in. Cathy stayed with us and was pleasant enough as long as we 
did not question her style of life at any point. Whenever we did so, she would let 
out a blast of obscenities and slam the door in our faces. 

Before long, Cathy secured a job decorating show windows at Thalhimer's 
Department Store in Richmond. Here she found an outlet for some of her artistic 
talent and was able to provide herself with spending money. 

Since we were determined to do our best to get to know C. B., Kay cooked an 
elaborate Chinese meal for him and Cathy one evening. After some superficial 
talk at the dinner table, we moved to more comfortable chairs, and I began to 
direct the conversation to a more serious subject. 

"C. B., I understand that you've been married, but the marriage has been an- 
nulled." 

"That's right." 

"May I see the annulment papers?" 

"You don't need to see them." 

"Listen, I'm Cathy's father and you say you want to marry my daughter! I have 
every right to see them!" 

"You can take my word for it!" he said in a tone of indignation that matched 
mine. 



CATHY CALLING 177 

Every attempt to talk seriously with him evoked some such irresponsible reply. 
Before long, Cathy said, "We don't have to take any more of this. Come on, C. B., 
let's go!" And out they went! By this time Kay was in tears. 

The next morning at the breakfast table I told Cathy exactly what I thought. 
"Cathy, if you do marry this boy," I said, "the sooner you get a divorce the better, 
and you know I don't believe in divorce. Unless there is some radical repentance 
on the part of both of you, there is no direction for you to go but down." This, of 
course, infuriated her, but she knew I meant what I said. 

The first Sunday Kay was back was Mother's Day. I couldn't get her to go to 
church that day. How could she on Mother's Day? Cathy left that morning with 
hardly a greeting. All she had on her mind was a rock concert being held in the 
park. C. B. had said that he was going to see his mother that day, but he and Cathy 
had other more important things to do. 

Now I was becoming more concerned about Kay than about Cathy. While I had 
been busy in various forms of mission work, Kay had invested most of her time 
and energy in the calling of being a mother. We had wanted more children, but 
following the gas incident Kay had been unable to conceive again. She had only 
one child, and now this one had gone bad. This being the situation, she didn't 
want to see anyone or do anything. 

That Sunday afternoon there was a knock at the door. It was Dr. Belote, our area 
secretary. He and I had formerly spent many hours together in ABGTS meetings, 
for while he was still a missionary in Hong Kong, he had served as the first presi- 
dent of the graduate seminary. Now he was coming to us as our pastor and friend, 
inviting us to come to his house for supper and for some fellowship. How refresh- 
ing this time of fellowship with him and Martha was! We were in the presence of 
friends who loved us and understood. 

When the next Sunday came, I persuaded Kay to go to the River Road Baptist 
Church with me. We chose this church because the pastor, Vernon L. Richardson, 
had been Kay's pastor during her college days and because she had appreciated 
his ministry so much. Never before had I missed a single Sunday in attending 
church. Now at a time of deep spiritual need, I had missed two Sundays in a row. 

Every part of that service— the organ music, the congregational hymns, the 
singing of the choir, the worship litany, the Scripture reading, the prayers by the 
pastor and the sermon— all of it seemed directed toward me. Every word fell upon 
my ears like raindrops upon thirsty ground. 

The next day I went to see Vernon Richardson. I found his counsel extremely 
helpful. He insisted on taking Kay and me out to lunch. In talking with us he said: 
"You know, the Bible says, 'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he 
is old, he will not depart from it.' Notice," he said, "the Bible says, 'when he is 
old.' Now there may be a little wandering along the way. But you have given Cathy 



178 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

some good training, and you have set a good example before her. I feel sure she 
will come back." 

In those days it seemed that every day for us was the same. After Cathy finished 
work each day she would come home and eat what her mother had prepared. She 
would always sit by the telephone and wait for a call from C. B. If he came within 
an hour of the time he had promised, he was regarded as on time. What he lacked, 
I felt, was integrity. How was he going to get into Boston University, when, as I 
learned, he was doing quite poorly at the University of Richmond? He was in 
revolt against the materialism of the older generation. But, as I was informed by 
his widowed mother, he had talked her into selling her house so she could buy 
him an expensive sports car. 

At that time, Cathy's behavior also was less than honest. She repeatedly tried to 
use our charge account at Thalhimer's, though we had emphatically forbidden her 
to do so. Finally, we had to tell Thalhimer's that if they sold her anything on our 
charge account we would hold the store responsible. Many times I told Cathy that 
if she would straighten up and act like our daughter again we would do everything 
we could to help her, but that we were not going to finance her style of life. 

During all of this time Cathy was living with us she was like a complete stranger. 
What had happened? How had things come to this?\ had a lot of time to reflect on 
this question, and the conclusions I reached then, I believe, were basically sound. 

A part of Cathy's problem was that of the times in which she was living. The col- 
lege students of the sixties were a different breed from those of the fifties before 
them and the seventies after. The turbulent sixties were the days of the Vietnam 
War and protest movements, of increased violence and the assassination of pub- 
lic figures, of the lowering of standards of morality and the acceleration of move- 
ment toward a permissive society. It was also the period of women's liberation 
and the black power movement, of increased secularization and the "death of 
God" theology, of the hippie movement and the drug culture, of Jeane Dixon and 
horoscopes, of the flourishing of the occult and even Satanism. A sense of aliena- 
tion characterized a large part of this student generation. 

The dissent movement in the United States reached a climax about the time we 
returned from Japan. On April 30, in a TV address to the nation, President Nixon 
announced and explained his action in sending ground troops into Cambodia. The 
next day he contrasted the "bums . . . blowing up the campuses" with the "kids" 
fighting the war in Vietnam, whom he described as "the greatest." Nationwide 
reaction was immediate and volatile. President Nixon, who had campaigned on a 
promise to bring the American people together, seemed to be embarked on a 
course which was further tearing them apart. Instead of de-escalating the war, he 
seemed to be escalating it. Nearly five hundred colleges and universities through- 



CATHY CALLING 179 

out the country were closed or went on strike. In a tragic confrontation with Na- 
tional Guardsmen at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, four students were 
killed and eleven others were wounded. A large antiwar demonstration was held 
in Washington May 9. 

Some of Cathy's problems grew out of her experience as an MK (missionary 
kid). MKs have many opportunities that most children do not have. They have the 
opportunity to travel, to learn another language, to get to know another culture, to 
make friends in another land. 

MKs also are confronted with problems that most kids don't have to face. The 
basic problem is that they are always "different," and most kids don't like to be 
different. The difference includes race, color, nationality, language, culture, and 
religion. And when they return to their own land, they are still different. They have 
manners and ways of thinking that they have learned in their adopted land, and 
they have missed much that typical American kids take for granted, such as foot- 
ball games, club activities, an English-language church program, and their grand- 
parents. 

When MKs enter college, they are uprooted. They have no home base from 
which to operate. Visiting friends and relatives is no adequate substitute for home 
at times like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and summer vacation. 

Many of Cathy's problems were uniquely her own. At the tender age of four- 
teen, she left the security of home for high school at Canadian Academy. In this 
prep school where the emphasis was upon academic excellence she found her- 
self exposed to ideas that undermined her childhood faith. Here she caught or 
was taught a relativism which denies absolute values and affirms that one faith is 
as good as another. This made her resentful of her identity as an MK. 

Her first choice of a school had been Hollins College and her second Agnes 
Scott. She had good scores on her Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs), but she was 
not accepted in either of these colleges because her grades in Canadian 
Academy were only in the high seventies. What these schools did not understand 
was the strict grading system at Canadian Academy. In Cathy's class of twenty-six 
students there were six National Merit Scholars, but the valedictorian had an 
average of only 86. 

Cathy entered Westhampton College, her mother's alma mater, with a disdain- 
ful attitude which kept her from being completely open to all that Westhampton 
had to offer. Being one who responded well to challenges to creativity and indi- 
viduality, Cathy reacted against the system of many required courses and few 
electives, which seemed to ignore individual interests and not to encourage 
independent study. 

Her special interests were history and art, but she was disappointed to discover 



180 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

that the courses in these subjects seemed to be repeats of what she had had in 
high school. One of them even used the same history text she had studied her 
junior year at Canadian Academy. She found that with little effort she could make 
the dean's list. 

In comparison with Canadian Academy, Westhampton College seemed narrow 
and provincial. At Canadian Academy there had been students from thirty-four 
countries, and nearly every state in the union had been represented. But at 
Westhampton College the overwhelming preponderance of students were from 
Virginia. Here Cathy felt different and out of place. Her identity as the daughter of 
Baptist missionaries in a Baptist school added to her sense of frustration. 

What Cathy felt people expected of her and her own self-image were in conflict. 
In this situation, with time on her hands, she was attracted to the hippies. They too 
were different. They also were in rebellion against the establishment and the 
value system of contemporary society. 

I had closed the door on her attempt to get away from Westhampton by entering 
Sophia University in Tokyo. But now C. B. with his promise of taking her to an art 
school in Boston seemed to be providing a way of escape. 



19 
A Time of Decision 



Cathy's period of rebellion, though relatively short in duration, was quite in- 
tense in quality. Fortunately, there were many positive factors at work in the situa- 
tion. Many friends and fellow missionaries were praying for us, and our God is one 
who hears and answers prayer. 

The FMB put all of its resources at our disposal. It paid for our transportation 
from Japan and later back to the field, kept us on salary while we were in the 
States, and paid for the services of a psychiatrist for Cathy. It also provided an 
apartment for us with only nominal rent. The understanding and encouragement 
offered by Dr. Cauthen, the executive secretary of the FMB, and Dr. Belote, our 
area secretary, along with the whole FMB staff were a constant source of strength 
to us. 

Since Cathy wouldn't talk with us, I sought to communicate with her by leaving 
notes on her dresser which briefly summarized alternatives open to her. Dean 
Gehring of Westhampton supplied me with a catalog of Hollins College, which I 
left on the coffee table. Cathy's furtive attempts to look at it when she thought we 
were not watching made us feel that she had not lost all interest in going back to 
college. 

Soon after I told Cathy how I felt about C. B, she stopped talking to us about 
marrying him. We weren't sure for a time whether this was because she felt we 
weren't open to conversation with her on this subject or whether she was losing 
interest in him. Cathy told me much later that she would never have married him, 
that she only thought of him as a way out of a bad situation. Unfortunately, at that 
time we had no way of knowing that. 

We were able to get Cathy to see a psychiatrist by suggesting that she might 
want to get some marriage counseling. The first psychiatrist didn't work out very 
well, but the second one, who had long hair and a heavy beard, was able to estab- 
lish rapport with her. A battery of psychological tests she took established the fact 
that she had a high IQ and that her mental processes were excellent. With his 
probing questions and permissive attitude the psychiatrist was able to help Cathy 

weigh the alternatives. 

181 



182 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Fortunately, Cathy was most ambitious, and she gradually came to see that the 
course she was following was not for her own good. 

Dramatically the conversion came, though it didn't have the overt religious 
dimensions we would have preferred. And, symbolically enough, her liberation 
came on July Fourth! 

Cathy was excited about the plan of going with C. B. and a group of hippies to 
Myrtle Beach for a Fourth of July weekend. Friday afternoon, July 3, she got off 
from work early and waited by the telephone for a call from C. B. As she waited, 
she became more sullen by the hour. Finally, near 7:00 PM the call came. C. B. 
reported that he wouldn't be able to go because his car had broken down and was 
in the shop for repairs. 

Cathy flew into a temper tantrum. We tried to get her to go out with us, but she 
refused, making it clear that she didn't want us around. To try to preserve our own 
sanity, Kay and I decided to go to see a Barbra Streisand movie. 

Upon our return we found a note from Cathy saying that she was going to a girl 
friend's house for a few days. But there was no clue as to where it might be. Once 
again, as had occurred often before, Kay cried herself to sleep. 

At 3:00 AM we heard a noise in our apartment. It was Cathy, who excitedly an- 
nounced, "I've broken up with C. B." 

We both bounded out of bed wide awake, and Cathy began to relate what had 
happened. Visiting a girl friend, she had told her what she planned to do and had 
gained her support in it. Then going down to the bus station, she had bought a 
ticket for Williamsburg, where C. B. was staying. The bus was quite crowded that 
Fourth of July weekend, and she had had to stand all the way. 

Arriving at C. B.'s apartment rather late, she related in machine-gun fashion the 
reasons she was breaking up with him. While he sat there dumbfounded trying to 
think of an answer, she left. This chapter in her life was now closed. 

Her problem then was transportation home. Unable to get a cab, she called the 
police from a phone booth in the neighborhood and asked them to come after her. 
This amused us a great deal, because earlier, in typical hippie fashion, she had 
referred to the police as "pigs." The police came after her and took her to a taxi. 
Then she made the forty-nine-mile trip from Williamsburg to Richmond by cab, 
paying her own fare. 

Cathy was ebullient as she related this story. It was evident that we had our 
daughter back. It seemed to us that "demons" had gone out of her and that she, 
like the Gadarene demoniac who had been healed by Jesus, was now clothed and 
in her right mind. 

Now Cathy seemed to want to be with us, and she talked with us freely. We 
made plans right then to spend the Fourth of July weekend at Kay's brother's 



A TIME OF DECISION 183 

place on the Rappahannock River. When Cathy told us that she wanted to quit her 
job, we were somewhat apprehensive. She allayed our fears, however, by ex- 
plaining that she wanted to go to summer school and try to recoup college credits 
she had lost. 

Quickly things began to fall into place. Monday morning Cathy told her em- 
ployer at Thalhimer's that she wanted to quit work and go back to college. He 
kindly consented to her leaving at once and even offered to write a recommenda- 
tion for her if she should desire work somewhere else in the future. 

After this, we drove to Duke University and to the University of North Carolina at 
Chapel Hill and investigated the summer school schedules of these two univer- 
sities. Tuesday morning we visited Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, 
and that afternoon we went to Virginia Beach for a couple of days of vacation 
together. 

When we arrived back in Richmond on Thursday afternoon, July 9, there was a 
letter from Hollins College saying that Cathy had been accepted there for the fall 
term. Her elation, and ours too, knew no bounds. This had been Cathy's first 
choice for a college from the beginning. During the two months she had been try- 
ing to sort things out she had sent in her application. She had thought the door 
completely closed to her when Hollins had inquired about her dropping out of 
Westhampton and about her going to a psychiatrist. Evidently she had been ac- 
cepted at Hollins because Dean Gehring had seen untapped possibilities in Cathy 
and had sent an understanding report of Cathy's situation to Hollins. 

The next day we took off for Roanoke to visit Hollins College. The following 
week we drove down to Chapel Hill to place Cathy in summer school there. From 
Chapel Hill Kay and I drove south to Tifton to visit my mother. We had been back 
from Japan over two months but had not had time to visit Mother, who was living 
alone in the house she and Daddy had built almost thirty years earlier. We had 
tried to explain the situation to her as best we could. But we had refrained from 
telling her everything, feeling that if she knew everything it would break her heart. 

Strangely enough, the most difficult time for me in the whole experience came 
after we returned to Richmond from Tifton. In coming back to the States to try to 
help Cathy I had no doubt that I was where God wanted me to be. But now what 
should we do? Should we return to Japan right away? If we did so, how could we 
know that such a problem would not arise again? Should we stay in the States? If 
so, would we simply be marking time or would we be engaged in some activity that 
we would know was the will of God for us at that time? For the first time since our 
appointment as missionaries, I was unsure of God's will. 

The professional advice we were receiving was contradictory. The medical con- 
sultant for the FMB advised us to remain in the States for two or three years. "We 



184 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

don't want to have to bring you home from Japan again," he said. 

On the other hand, the psychiatrist who had worked with Cathy encouraged us 
to return to Japan as soon as possible. "These are usually one-shot deals," he 
explained. "Besides, I think you need to demonstrate that kind of confidence in 
Cathy." 

The FMB, in trying to make things easier for us, had invited me to be the repre- 
sentative of the Personnel Department of the FMB in the Southern Seminary area. 
But I had no clear indication that this was God's will for me. 

With all my heart I wanted to return to Japan. I was mindful that a crisis situation 
was developing in the seminary. If I had any value for the seminary at all, I should 
be there at that time, I felt. But could I return to the seminary with any peace of 
mind and any assurance that we could not have to make another emergency trip to 
the States on Cathy's account? 

Day by day anxiety was mounting. Never before had I been so restless. Often I 
had difficulty getting to sleep at night. Sometimes I would wake up at 3:00 AM and 
find myself sighing and unable to go back to sleep. At other times I would suggest 
a ride to Kay, and we would drive out to Byrd Airport and watch the airplanes take 
off. In my imagination I would make the trip: Washington, Chicago, Anchorage, 
Tokyo, Fukuoka. All I needed to do was get on board. 

One afternoon I drove Kay to downtown Richmond and let her out in front of 
Thalhimer's Department Store. I had always despised shopping, and I certainly 
did not feel like doing any at that time. 

On my way back to our apartment I passed a bookstore. Immediately, I headed 
for a parking lot. Looking at books and buying a few didn't come in the same cate- 
gory as shopping. After purchasing a few books I passed the Centenary Methodist 
Church as I was walking toward the parking lot. The sign in front read: "Open for 
Prayer." 

"I surely do need prayer," I said to myself as I climbed the steps and entered 
the church. So far as I know, I was the only one in the church at that time. I knelt in 
the quiet, reverent atmosphere of the sanctuary and prayed quite simply a prayer 
that went like this: "0 God, I don't know what I should do. Teach me, I pray. If it is 
your will for us to return to Japan, then let us do so with peace in our hearts know- 
ing that you are going to take care of things as far as Cathy is concerned. If it is 
your will for us to remain in the States, then give me something to do, I pray, which 
I will know is your will for me. I commit this problem unto you. In Jesus' name. 
Amen." 

Leaving the church, I went directly to the car and drove back to the apartment. 
And when I arrived, there was a letter from Cathy, who at that time was in summer 
school at Chapel Hill. Cathy had been asking about our plans, and her mother had 
written that we might remain in the States for two or three years while I worked 



A TIME OF DECISION 185 

with the Personnel Department of the FMB. In her letter Cathy said: "I know it was 
necessary for you to come back on my account, and I am really grateful that you 
did. But the prodigal daughter has returned! If you stay on beyond this, it is for 
your own sake, not mine. Whatever you do, please don't saddle me with the 
responsibility for keeping you here." 

That letter came to me like a special delivery from heaven. I knew that Cathy had 
written it before I had entered the Centenary Methodist Church for prayer, but I 
felt sure that God, who knows all things, had timed my reception of it just at the 
time I needed it most. 

Since Kay hadn't prayed that way, she was not quite so sure. When the time 
came for us to go to Chapel Hill to get Cathy after she had completed the summer 
school course, Kay was unable to go with me because of a back problem. As I 
talked with Cathy on the way back to Richmond, I was impressed with her maturity 
and with her reflection upon her past experience. She had had a good term at 
Chapel Hill and had been able to redeem most of the credits she had lost through 
her hasty withdrawal from school. 

"Now I know what I want," she said. "Now I know I want to go back to school, 
and it's my decision!" 

We had already made plans to drive down to Tifton with Cathy between the end 
of her summer school at Chapel Hill and the beginning of the fall term at Hollins 
College. Since Kay was still suffering with the back problem and was not up to the 
trip, Cathy and I drove down to Tifton together to visit with my mother. 

On the way back to Richmond, we brought Mother with us as far as Carnesville 
in north Georgia. Mother wanted to visit with her sister, Ottie, who was living there 
in the little town where she and Ottie had grown up. When we left Mother in 
Carnesville, I had no idea that I was seeing her for the last time. 

The FMB continued to counsel caution with regard to our return to Japan. But as 
a compromise decision, we agreed to make tentative plans to return in November. 
This would give us time to see how Cathy was adjusting to Hollins College as we 
visited her during the midterm break at the end of October. 

We found that Cathy was happy at Hollins. The school was less rigid in its 
requirements than Westhampton and placed more emphasis upon independent 
study. It was much more cosmopolitan. Here individualism was encouraged, and 
Cathy didn't feel so different. Hollins also had a very good art department, and 
Cathy was quite happy with her courses. Now she knew why she was in school 
and felt fortunate to be there. All of Cathy's professors spoke very positively of 
her, and there was no indication of a problem of any kind. Therefore, when we left 
the States on November 9, 1970 to return to Japan it was with a deep assurance of 
the Lord's leading and a complete sense of peace. 

From the time Cathy entered Hollins until we got ready to make our final prep- 



186 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

arations to return to Japan, we spent seven happy weeks at Southeastern Semi- 
nary. While there I gave a seminary chapel message entitled "Why We Are Going 
Back." An abbreviated form of the message appeared in a number of the Baptist 
state papers, and the message in full was published in the September 1971 issue 
of the Commission. I gave four reasons for our return to Japan. 

"First, we are returning because the need is still overwhelming." Japan is a 
nation with half the population of the United States but with less than one percent 
of the people making any claim to being Christian. 

"Second, we are returning because the door is still open, and there is still a 
response." Christians in many other lands long for the religious freedom that we 
enjoy. "All forms of mass communication and personal witness available in the 
twentieth century are open to us, if only we have the financial resources, the 
vision and dedication to use them," I said. 

"Third, we are returning to Japan because missionary service there is both 
demanding and thrilling .... Trying to communicate the hidden depths of the 
Christian message to seminary students whose thirst for knowledge and passion 
for truth is insatiable, and at the same time trying to stay close to the simple veri- 
ties of the gospel and to communicate these to people who are hearing the good 
news for the first time— these two concerns make missionary service both de- 
manding and thrilling." 

"Fourth, God's call to us still rings loud and clear," I said. Then I related briefly 
how God had used the letter of a Japanese Christian girl read by W. Maxfield 
Garrott in a Missionary Day service in the chapel of Southern Seminary to make 
me know that he wanted me in Japan. "It is no more praiseworthy to go than it is to 
stay if each of us is in the place where the Lord wants him," I said. "But we must 
not too easily assume that it is God's will for us to stay, unless first we have con- 
sidered the possibility that it might be God's will for us to go." 

Several weeks before returning to Japan, we asked Mother if she wanted us to 
come back to see her before leaving. She advised us not to come because she 
said she didn't think she could stand the ordeal of parting again. 

"What shall we tell the people in Japan about you?" I asked Cathy. 

"Tell them anything you like," she replied. 

This answer gave me the freedom to be honest and open about what we had 
experienced. In all that I had said to the people of Nagazumi until this time, I had 
been purposely vague about Cathy's condition. This had left the impression with 
them that Cathy had suffered a nervous breakdown or was mentally ill. 

In my first sermon at Nagazumi Church following our return I spoke openly and 
honestly of the traumatic experience through which we had passed. For this testi- 
mony-sermon, I chose as my Scripture the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. 1 
said that I had preached on that passage many times, but that heretofore I had 



A TIME OF DECISION 187 

tended to emphasize either the prodigal son or the elder brother, for sometimes I 
saw myself in the rebellion of the prodigal while at other times in the self-righ- 
teousness of the elder brother. I went on to relate, however, that because of our 
experience with Cathy I could now view this story from the standpoint of the 
father. Then relating very frankly the reason for our return to the States, I spoke of 
three lessons I had learned from the experience. 

The first lesson I pointed out was the dreadful seriousness of sin. We had had to 
oppose Cathy not because we wanted to deprive her of something good, but 
because we knew the path she had chosen would lead to destruction. I told of the 
intense spiritual suffering we had endured and of the many nights Kay and I had 
stayed awake worrying about her, praying for her, and crying over her. Through all 
of this Cathy seemed oblivious or indifferent to the pain she was causing us. From 
this perspective I could see that every sin of ours, however insignificant it might 
seem to us, is tremendously serious when seen from the Father's point of view. 

The second thing I learned, I explained, was that we could not solve Cathy's 
problem from a distance. We had to go to her. In the same way God did not try to 
solve our sin problem by issuing ultimatums from a safe distance. He took the risk 
of getting involved and came to us in Christ. "The word became flesh and dwelt 
among us." In the incarnation God came to live among us in the person of Jesus 
Christ. But Cathy did not welcome us, and this caused us tremendous spiritual 
agony. If we had not loved her, we would not have suffered. We could have for- 
gotten about her and gone on back to Japan. But because our love for her con- 
fronted her sin, a cross of pain was erected. The same rejection was experienced 
by Jesus, except in an infinitely deeper, more agonizing way. "He came unto his 
own and his own received him not" (John 1:11). The cross is the supreme witness 
to the depth of God's love for sinful man. Through this experience I had come to a 
deeper understanding and appreciation of the incarnation and the cross, I ex- 
plained. 

Finally, I said, I had learned the necessity of repentance and the tremendous joy 
of the father when the wayward child returns. I had done my best to try to under- 
stand Cathy's problem. From the beginning I had known what needed to be done. 
Kay and I had tried to tell Cathy what she should do, but she wouldn't listen. It had 
to be her decision. But that day of decision did come, and from personal experi- 
ence I came to know the overwhelming joy of the father welcoming back the prod- 
igal child who had repented. 

The intensity of the agony through which we had passed became the "open 
sesame" into the unspeakable joy into which we were ushered. Our relationship 
with Cathy today has a depth to it and a sweetness about it which it probably never 
would have had if we had not passed through the dark night of suffering. 



20 
Seminary Crisis 



On November 12, 1970, we returned to Fukuoka, and I resumed my responsi- 
bility on the seminary faculty. The seminary was deeply embroiled in controversy 
and struggling for its very existence. While we were still at Southeastern, we had 
received word that the students had called a strike, and that classes had been 
suspended as the faculty struggled for a settlement. 

The news of the strike didn't surprise me in the least, for storm clouds were 
already gathering when we left for our emergency furlough a little more than six 
months earlier. In the spring of 1969 we had admitted three students with radical 
leanings. These had come with the recommendations of their churches, as is the 
case with all of our students. Starting with the problem of the seminary curricu- 
lum, they had worked hard to foster discontent. Despite the fact that the faculty 
thoroughly revised the curriculum and worked diligently to meet the demands of 
the students, many of them legitimate, the radical students gave the faculty no 
credit for these efforts. Instead, they attacked the seminary with scurrilous 
posters at the beginning of the school year in April. There was strong evidence of 
discontent for the sake of discontent. 

The seminary problem can be understood only in relation to the general climate 
in Japan at that time. The Vietnam War clouded and dampened the entire political 
atmosphere. The Japanese press tended to represent the Viet Cong as freedom 
fighters who were struggling valiantly to liberate and unite their country. Amer- 
ican military forces, on the other hand, were interpreted as obstructing this effort. 
By intervening in a conflict that was none of their business, they were seeking to 
bolster the corrupt Thieu government of South Vietnam and perpetuate the divi- 
sion of the Vietnamese people. 

The Japan-America Mutual Security Treaty was up for reconsideration in June 
of 1970. Almost two years in advance opposition forces had started organizing 
their attack on the treaty. Many Christians joined with leftists of various stripes 
in opposing the treaty and the bill for nationalizing the Yasukuni Shrine where 
many of the war dead were enshrined. Both the treaty and the shrine bill were 

188 



SEMINARY CRISIS 189 

supported by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Opposition forces interpreted 
both of these measures as evidence of rightist trends towards militarism and the 
revival of a police state. 

Many of the most prestigious universities— both public and private— were 
closed a large part of 1969 because of student radicalism. Usually, the focal point 
of each struggle was a local issue which concerned the particular school involved. 
Behind the struggle, however, was an ideology informed by Marxist objectives 
and tactics. Some of the tactics, such as accusation meetings, which had been 
employed in the Chinese Cultural Revolution were adapted to the struggle. 
Through these meetings carried out in the atmosphere of a kangaroo court, fac- 
ulty members, particularly the older and more influential ones, were one by one 
discredited and held up for public ridicule. 

Often the theological departments of the various universities which were under 
attack were in the vanguard of the strife. Radical and even revolutionary theology 
became a tool in the attempt to overthrow the establishment. Highly partisan ac- 
counts of these struggles, along with a revolutionary theology to support them, 
were prepared by the radicals and passed around from one campus to another. 
This pamphlet material became a new Bible which the hard-core radical students 
used in indoctrinating uncommitted students. 

By midsummer of 1969, campus disorders were preventing about forty percent 
of the students in universities throughout the country from pursuing their studies. 
Finally, on August 4, 1969, despite strong opposition, the Universities Normaliza- 
tion Bill was passed. In Japan all universities are under the Ministry of Education, 
and government recognition is essential for a university's existence. The bill 
called for the withdrawal of government recognition from universities that sus- 
pended academic work beyond a specified period of time. Following the enact- 
ment of this bill, in university after university riot police were called in to pull down 
the barricades and ensure the safety of students and faculty members as class 
work was resumed. 

Within the Kyodan (United Church of Christ of Japan) there was strong opposi- 
tion to having a Christian pavillion at Expo 70 (World's Fair) held in Osaka, May- 
October, 1970. Expo 70, it was maintained, was the showpiece of the capitalist- 
oriented Liberal-Democratic Party and of Prime Minister Sato. Any participation in 
it could only be interpreted as support of this government. 

An ideological split had been taking shape for years within the Japan Baptist 
Convention. Over against the traditional, conservative approach to theology, a 
group which favored a more activist social and political approach was becoming 
more and more vocal. This group tended to stress the idea that the Christian's 
witness for Christ is borne not so much through proclaiming the cross and calling 



190 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

people to a personal decision of repentance and faith as through taking a strong 
stand against such social evils as the Vietnam War, the Mutual Security Treaty, 
and the Yasukuni Shrine Bill. 

Many who interpreted Christian responsibility in terms of involvement in social 
and political issues opposed the Baptist World Congress scheduled for Tokyo in 
July of 1970. A large group would be coming from America. It would be impossible 
to show solidarity with most of these people, since, it was alleged, America was 
the aggressor in Vietnam. 

Just at this time within the Japan Baptist Convention a strong movement for 
independence and self-support was also developing. Many years earlier the JBC 
had imitated much of the organizational structure of the state Baptist conventions 
within the Southern Baptist Convention. In doing so, it had developed a denomina- 
tional structure which was top-heavy and lacked sufficient grass roots support. As 
a result, the JBC was dependent upon the Foreign Mission Board of the SBC for 
eighty to eighty-five percent of its operating budget. The call for independence 
and self-support cut across all ideological lines and became a unifying emphasis 
within the Convention at a time when the trend toward polarization was becoming 
strong. At the same time, one undercurrent in this emphasis was a strong, anti- 
American bias. 

The seminary soon became the focal point of this social, political, theological, 
and economic unrest within the JBC. For years the seminary had had its critics. 
On the right, there were those who charged that the seminary was too liberal and 
too academic. This group maintained that the seminary did not train its students 
adequately for an evangelistic ministry, and that it did not equip them to deal 
effectively with the practical problems of individuals and churches. On the left, 
however, there were those who claimed that the seminary was too conservative. 
This group charged that the gospel which the seminary taught was almost entirely 
a personal one which did not come to grips with the big social problems with 
which the church in the last part of the twentieth century must deal in order to be 
relevant. Increasingly, the leftist group became more vocal. The crux of its com- 
plaint was the charge that the seminary was not leading the way in showing the 
churches how to deal with the big issues— the Vietnam War, the Mutual Security 
Treaty, and the Yasukuni Shrine Bill. 

A part of the seminary's problem grew out of the duality of its nature. While 
structurally a department of Seinan Gakuin University, it was at the same time the 
organ of the JBC for the training of its pastors and church leaders. 

Financial problems of the Convention also came to a focus in the seminary. 
Through tuition and fees other departments of the university were able to bring in 
funds commensurate with the expenses involved in maintaining them. But this 



SEMINARY CRISIS 191 

was not the case with the seminary. The theological department was by far the 
smallest department of the university. Besides this, it charged no tuition because 
of its mission in training church workers. Through the years the FMB had sup- 
ported the seminary financially, but this dependence was becoming intolerable to 
the JBC because of its strong emphasis upon independence and self-support. 

To make matters worse, there was the problem of the salary scale for Japanese 
faculty members of the seminary. At that time, their salaries were considerably 
lower than those in other departments of Seinan Gakuin University who had the 
same qualifications. Missionary faculty members were not involved, because all 
missionary salaries are paid by the FMB without regard to academic qualifications 
or the kind of work done. The Japanese faculty members of the seminary main- 
tained that since they did the same work as other Seinan University professors 
they should receive the same pay. Many from the convention side, however, con- 
tested this view. They maintained that trying to keep pace with other university 
salaries was out of order, since most of the funds for the seminary would have to 
come from the churches, and the salaries of faculty members were already above 
those of most pastors. 

In the midst of this situation many on both the right and the left contended that 
what the JBC needed was a seminary completely independent of the university 
structure. Only then, they emphasized, could the convention have complete con- 
trol of the seminary. 

The strike began on September 28, 1970, with a decision to boycott first-term 
exams. This boycott was then extended to classes as well. When the vote was 
taken among the seminary students, ten voted for the strike, seven against it, and 
one abstained from voting. At that time, five students were not present in the 
meeting. Thus, the total vote for the strike was ten out of twenty-three. The eleven 
Bible school students were affected by the strike, but they were not given a vote. 
The next day the strike students issued a strike declaration, and eight students 
issued an anti-strike declaration. 

The issue which precipitated the strike was the question raised during the 
annual meeting of the Japan Baptist Convention as to whether the radical stu- 
dents in the seminary should be eligible for scholarship aid. After issuing their 
strike declaration, the hard-core of the radical students sought to explain their 
position through a series of pamphlets widely distributed throughout the Conven- 
tion. 

In December of 1969 the seminary section of the Evangelism Strategy Confer- 
ence of the JBC had pronounced the seminary "under the sentence of bank- 
ruptcy." This phrase, "under the sentence of bankruptcy," became a key one 
throughout the controversy. In issuing their strike declaration the striking stu- 



192 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

dents declared that they prosecuted themselves, for while recognizing the truth 
of the statement that the seminary was "under the sentence of bankruptcy," they 
had gone on with classes as usual. They said they could no longer do this and 
called on all— the faculty and students alike— to repent by recognizing the just- 
ness of this verdict. What they were demanding from the faculty was a confession 
of bankruptcy. Had they received it, they would then have asked, "If you are bank- 
rupt, how then are you qualified to teach?" 

The strike students were most severe in their condemnation of the seminary 
because of what they regarded as a failure to recognize what God is doing in his- 
tory in terms of the big social revolutions of our time. They summed up this failure 
in a catch-phrase, rekishisei to rinjinsei no ketsujo, "a lack of a sense of history 
and neighborliness." In the course of the controversy they began to call for the 
dissolution of the seminary, and some even called for the dissolution of the Con- 
vention itself. 

From the beginning, the striking students, supported by certain radical pastors, 
confronted the seminary with nonnegotiable demands. The basic demand was 
that the faculty concur in the verdict that the seminary was bankrupt— a position 
which would have led to the closing of the seminary. 

Before my return from the States, the faculty tried to cope with the situation 
through a series of faculty meetings and discussion meetings with the students. 
During this time, six "open meetings" were held in which the participation of 
pastors and other church members was invited. At these "open meetings" indi- 
vidual faculty members in compliance with the demands of the radical students 
presented position papers. Not satisfied with these, the strike group also de- 
manded a unified position paper from the faculty as a body. 

Significant events during this time included the resignation from the seminary 
faculty of New Testament Professor Shuichi Ozaki, the resignation of George 
Hays as dean of the theological department, and the election of Sadao Sekiya as 
his replacement. 

When I returned to the seminary, the faculty was engaged in the attempt to write 
a united position paper. This was proving to be very difficult because the faculty 
was not united. One faculty member, Motoi Yamaji, professor of systematic theol- 
ogy, had a social and theological stance essentially different from that of the rest 
of us. He had been a part of the original group which had pronounced the semi- 
nary "under the sentence of bankruptcy," and he had openly affirmed that he was 
in basic agreement with the strike group. 

Day by day, I tried to catch up on what had taken place during my absence. 
There was general agreement that the discussions which had been conducted 
until that time had been largely unproductive because they had been held in the 



SEMINARY CRISIS 193 

spirit of confrontation. Before long, the anti-strike group, who had said they be- 
lieved the basic issue to be the interpretation of the gospel, withdrew their anti- 
strike declaration. This was a conciliatory action aimed at creating a climate of 
reconciliation and opening the way to more productive negotiations. It proved 
fruitless. 

More than anything it was the atmosphere of tension and hate that prevailed on 
the campus that distressed me. The glow of joy and hope had gone from people's 
faces, and a stern, hard, almost sullen look had taken its place. The seminary, 
which was intended to be a community of worship and study, was no longer a 
community at all. There was a breakdown of confidence of students toward the 
faculty, the faculty towards the students, and the students toward one another. 

I had to examine my own heart daily before God amid a complex situation. Never 
before had I been involved in a public controversy. Always before this, my rela- 
tionships with Japanese people had been quite pleasant. Now I knew what it was 
to be an object of scorn and hate. Looking back on the experience, I am sorry that 
I was not able to manifest more of the love of Christ in an atmosphere charged 
with hate, in which everyone's motives were impugned. Whatever the defici- 
encies of the seminary, and they were many, I felt that the tactics being employed 
to produce change were out of harmony with the nature of the gospel. It seemed 
to me that methods of coercion were being employed to force the faculty to con- 
form to an interpretation of the gospel being imposed by the radical students. 

A year earlier, when the first severe rumblings had occurred and attention had 
been focused on the problem of the curriculum, I had tried honestly to listen to 
what the students were saying. I believe other faculty members did the same. The 
students were calling for a wider offering of courses, more electives, for courses 
that went deeper into the subject, and for courses that called for more classroom 
participation. It seemed to me that all of these demands were legitimate. Radical 
changes were made in the curriculum to use these principles. 

But when the new school year began in April and new students joined us, the 
faculty was assailed with a barrage of ugly posters. At the pastors' and mission- 
aries' conference held at Amagi Assembly a week after the opening of school, 
one of the radical students charged that the seminary had not changed at all. This 
and other things which followed made me feel that we were confronted with a 
situation in which discontent was deliberately being fostered, in which the search 
was for problems, not for solutions. 

To my knowledge, in none of their statements did the radical students affirm 
faith in Jesus Christ as the unique Son of God, nor in salvation through his atoning 
death. Rather, they seemed to be interpreting Jesus as a completely human, 
revolutionary prophet who challenged the status quoan6 identified with the down 



194 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

and out. In one of the "open meetings" which took place before our return to 
Japan one of the radical students was widely reported to have said he really did 
not know which was the greatest, Mao Tse-tung, Ho Chi-minh, or Jesus. In this 
situation I felt that what was required of me was faithfulness to the gospel as God 
had led me to understand it. 

The only "open meeting" which I attended was held at the Fukuoka Baptist 
Church, December 1, 1970. At this meeting the faculty presented its position 
paper. It was rather abstract, but it was the best that we could do in view of the fact 
that the faculty was not united. At this meeting also I submitted a paper on "My 
Understanding of the Gospel," but did not read it to the group. I said that the heart 
of the gospel is the redemptive reign of God in Jesus Christ made effective 
through the power of the Holy Spirit and that the church is the community of faith 
called by Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue Jesus' servant 
ministry in the world. 

Pointing out that neither Jesus nor the early church gave primary attention to 
politics, I went on to emphasize that in the gospel, as the early church lived it and 
proclaimed it, resided a power which ultimately would break the shackles of 
slavery and triumph over the Roman Empire. I concluded with an appeal for reli- 
gious freedom: "God has made us free moral agents, and he respects the free- 
dom of our consciences. Since in matters of faith and repentance God does not 
coerce us, we have no right to coerce our neighbor. A repentance that is coerced 
is not true repentance. Rather it is hypocrisy and deception. Baptists have long 
cherished the freedom of individual conscience, but, unless I misunderstand the 
situation, we are in dire danger of surrendering this freedom in submitting to the 
demand of conforming to someone else's interpretation of the gospel." 

The whole meeting was conducted in a manner to suggest that the faculty was 
on trial. When I tried to direct some questions to the striking students, I was called 
out of order. Later I came to realize that the model was the procedure followed in 
the Diet, where the opposition parties grill the Prime Minister and his party. In a 
similar manner the faculty was called upon to defend its position, but it was not 
allowed to raise the question as to whether the opposition forces had a viable 
alternative in view. 

The radical students were incensed that Professor Ozaki had resigned in the 
midst of the struggle, and each faculty member was required to express his views 
with regard to this issue. Since I had not been present in the other meetings, a 
large part of the cross examination in this meeting was directed toward me. 

The students found my most vulnerable spot to be political issues. When ques- 
tioned on these matters, I indicated that I had always sought to avoid these ques- 
tions since I was a guest in the country and not a citizen. Pressed for an answer 



SEMINARY CRISIS 195 

with regard to the Yasukuni Shrine Bill and the Vietnam War, however, I sum- 
marized my views briefly. 

I stated my opposition to the Yasukuni Shrine Bill as a violation of the principle 
of the separation of church and state and a denial of religious liberty. My failure to 
denounce it as a revival of militarism and the police state left the radicals unsatis- 
fied. I stated that the Vietnam War was not a black-and-white issue. There was not 
even agreement as to who the Viet Cong were. Were they freedom fighters seek- 
ing to liberate and unite their country or were they Communist guerillas, seeking 
to impose a Communist regime on South Vietnam? My failure to denounce the 
Vietnam War as an act of American imperialism left them even more incensed. 

I am not proud of my answers on these issues, particularly those with regard to 
the Vietnam War. Why was I not able to adopt a prophetic stance on this issue as I 
had all along on race relations? Doubtless, I was reacting against the obvious bias 
of those who were formulating the questions. I tended to accept too uncritically 
the explanations given by Washington. I had not yet become aware of the Penta- 
gon Papers and the horrible massacre at My Lai. The basic reason, however, was 
doubtless an anti-Communism which made me blind to other issues. The answer 
to Communism, I now believe, is not a blind anti-Communism. Anti-Communism 
too often sides with oppressive fascist regimes which are hardly better than the 
Communism it opposes. The answer to Communism certainly must be more posi- 
tive than this and must address itself to correcting the injustices and social prob- 
lems which give rise to the type of discontent that can be used to foment a Com- 
munist revolution. 

In a position paper of its own formulated the last of November, the Board of 
Trustees of the seminary expressed deep appreciation for the contribution the 
seminary had made through the years in training Christian workers and sending 
them out on the front lines for evangelism. At the same time, it said that by failing 
to demonstrate enough flexibility and adaptability in the midst of rapid social 
change the seminary had laid itself open to the charge of being bankrupt. 

There was general agreement that the "open meeting" of December 1 had 
ended in an unproductive stalemate. The fact that neither side called for further 
meetings of this kind was interpreted by the faculty of the seminary to mean that 
such meetings had run their course. 

Following this, the Board of Trustees of the seminary urged the faculty to try to 
communicate as much as possible with the students on a personal level and 
remove the barriers to the resumption of classes. Such conversations with the 
students revealed the fact that a majority of them favored going back to class. 

Up to this point, Seinan Gakuin University had taken a "hands off" policy in 
regard to the controversy. Many within the university's administrative structure 



196 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

seemed to want to stay out of it for fear that the contagion might spread to other 
departments. Also, there was a strong view that the unique nature of the Theo- 
logical Department made the controversy more a problem of the JBC than of 
Seinan Gakuin University. Early in December, however, certain officials within the 
university who were responsible for the academic life of the school began urging 
the Theological Department to resume classes. Failure to resume classes and 
complete the work of the academic year on time might be interpreted as a viola- 
tion of the Universities Normalization Bill and could possibly lead to a govern- 
ment-ordered dissolution of the Theological Department. 

On December 18, the seminary issued a supplementary position paper, this one 
more explicit than the first one. In it the faculty announced its intention of resum- 
ing classes January 8. The Board of Trustees of the seminary voted unanimously 
to support this position. 

This decision was not arrived at lightly. When a group of the students issued 
their strike declaration, the faculty had not sought to use its authority to force a 
continuation of classes, but had voluntarily suspended them in order to enter into 
dialogue with the students. But almost three months had passed, and the discus- 
sions had been largely unproductive. If we waited until all arguments had been 
completely exhausted, classroom work would have to be delayed indefinitely. It 
was also the conviction of the faculty that the functions of the seminary could best 
be carried on within the framework of the classroom procedure. Within that frame- 
work, by scheduling special discussions on the side, a debate of the issues con- 
fronting the seminary could be continued. 

Shortly after the faculty issued its declaration of the resumption of classes, on 
Sunday morning, December 20, 1970, 1 was awakened by an overseas telephone 
call from James. 

"Bob, have you gotten my letter?" 

"What letter?" 

"I wrote you several days ago. I thought perhaps you would have received the 
letter by now. It's about Mother. She's in Emory University Hospital now. Tests 
made thus far indicate that it is cancer in the abdominal region. It really looks 
bad." 

James indicated that an exploratory operation was in the offing. I thanked him 
for calling and asked him to keep me informed. 

With this additional burden on my heart, I preached at Nagazumi Church that 
morning about "good tidings of great joy to all peoples." How grateful I was for 
the gospel which gives us hope in the midst of situations which might otherwise 
lead to despair! 

Again I was faced with the question of where I should be. While in Japan, I had 



SEMINARY CRISIS 197 

become convinced that I should return to the States because of Cathy's problem. 
After things cleared up there, I felt the urgency of returning to Japan because of 
the seminary crisis. Now what should I do? Should I return to the States because 
of Mother's illness? 

I made this an object of serious prayer, but never felt that I should return. I knew 
that she was getting the best medical attention possible, and that James and 
Carolyn were doing all they could for her. I had been privileged to be with her a 
few months earlier under happy circumstances. Once before I had left the semi- 
nary at a difficult time for family reasons. Knowing the gravity of the crisis we now 
faced, I did not think that I could afford to leave again. 

The doctors decided against the operation. They informed Mother of her condi- 
tion, and she seemed relieved to know what the problem was. Early in January, 
knowing that I would not see Mother again, I sat down one evening with tears in 
my eyes and wrote her a love letter. In it I thanked her for who she was and all she 
had meant to me. James read the letter to Mother, and she responded, "I love him 
too." That night in writing that letter I committed Mother to our Father's loving 
care. 

Tension within the seminary was so strong that there was no Christmas celebra- 
tion of any kind. During the Christmas and New Year's holidays the faculty met a 
number of times to consolidate its position. We knew that the decision to resume 
classes would not be popular with the strike group, but we all pledged to stand 
together, come what might. 

A meeting of faculty and students was called for January 6 to explain the faculty 
position in calling for a resumption of classes. The next day the students were to 
meet to decide whether or not they would return to classes. 

At the meeting on January 6, Professor Yamaji was interrogated by the radical 
group with particular severity. This shook him considerably and caused him to 
concur with the radical group that the faculty had not dealt thoroughly enough 
with the issues. He also came to feel that too much consideration was being given 
to getting classes started in order to conform to an arbitrary time limit imposed by 
the Ministry of Education. 

The next day he absented himself from the faculty meeting and sent a note to 
the faculty calling upon it to postpone the resumption of classes. At that time he 
was extremely upset emotionally. He declared himself bankrupt and totally unpre- 
pared to teach. Neither visits from faculty or trustee representatives could move 
him from this position. He never again attended a faculty meeting. Before the 
controversy was over, he had isolated himself not only from the rest of the faculty 
but also from the strike group, whom from time to time he had sought to cham- 
pion. On March 31, 1971, he submitted a letter of resignation to the faculty and 



198 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

trustees, and a few days later he moved to Tokyo to teach German in one of the 
universities there. 

Professor Yamaji's defection from the faculty depleted the number of full-time 
faculty members in Japan to six. During the entire period of controversy, Kazuo 
Nakamura, whose specialty was Greek New Testament, was on sabbatical in the 
States. Radical revisions in the curriculum then became necessary. Classes 
finally got under way on January 11 after two days of orientation that counted as 
class time. 

While two-thirds of the students returned to class, the other third staged a 
hunger strike. They placed straw mats in the hall of the administration and class- 
room building and sat in the hall each day from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM while the 
other students were attending classes. They carried out the "fast" in relay fash- 
ion, with two students fasting for a twenty-four-hour period and then passing the 
baton on to someone else. The fast lasted for about a week, coming to an end on 
January 14. 

The strain on our small faculty was almost unbearable. We were meeting 
classes now on an accelerated schedule. At the same time, we had faculty meet- 
ings almost daily to try to deal with the unresolved problems that faced us. Many 
of these meetings lasted until after midnight. Often they were held in the home of 
Vera Campbell, who had joined the faculty in Religious Education and Church 
Administration in 1969. The only lady on the faculty, Vera stood tall throughout the 
controversy and helped keep up our morale by her good cooking. 

Day by day fatigue was mounting in the faculty, but this became particularly 
pronounced with Professor Sekiya, dean of the seminary. For ten nights straight, 
every morning between midnight and 3:00 AM, he received several anonymous 
phone calls. These seemed designed simply to harrass him and deprive him of 
sleep. 

These phone calls stopped suddenly, however, when news came of the tragic 
death of Yoko Ozaki, Saturday, January 23, at 9:05 PM. She was run over by a train 
while in a very depressed state. Yoko, the twenty-eight-year-old daughter of 
Shuichi Ozaki, who had resigned from the faculty in October, was the efficient 
librarian at the seminary. For several months she had suffered in silence as she 
heard her father, for many years one of the most respected leaders of the Japan 
Baptist Convention, ridiculed and condemned for having deserted his seminary 
post in the midst of the controversy. Apparently, the load had become intolerable. 

Early on the morning of January 26, I received a call from James saying that 
Mother had died there on the 25th, at 1 1 :00 AM (1 :00 AM January 26, Japan time). 
That evening some members of the Nagazumi Church came to our home express- 
ing their love and concern with flowers and words, and through a time of prayer 
with us. 



SEMINARY CRISIS 199 

At the time Mother's funeral was to take place I was given the most difficult 
assignment I had ever had, that of representing the seminary at a meeting of the 
Executive Committee of the JBC at Amagi Sanso, January 28-29. 1 was asked to 
represent the seminary because the dean was too fatigued both physically and 
emotionally to make the trip. The nightly harrassment of the anonymous phone 
calls and the other burdens he bore had taken their toll. 

On January 21, the Board of Trustees of the seminary supported the faculty in 
calling for the enlistment of new students as usual, the strengthening of the fac- 
ulty and staff, and the adoption of a seminary budget that would make these 
things possible. Since budgetary items were involved, the Board of Trustees of 
the seminary decided to present these matters to the Executive Committee of the 
JBC. 

On Thursday night, January 28, 1 gave a forty-minute oral report on the seminary 
to the Executive Committee. Seeking to be as honest and open about the prob- 
lems we faced as I could, I sought to make clear why the seminary faculty had 
arrived at the conclusion that the time had come for the resumption of classes. I 
indicated that it was not our intention to cut off dialogue with the students but to 
continue it within the framework of the classroom situation and in specially sched- 
uled discussion sessions that would not count as class time. I stressed the fact 
that two-thirds of the students had actually gone back to class and appealed to the 
Executive Committee for help in dealing with the one-third who had not returned. 
Last of all, I urged the Committee to support the decision of the faculty and the 
trustees of the seminary to receive new students in the spring and to support us in 
efforts to strengthen the faculty and staff of the seminary. 

Following my report, Omura-sensei, as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the 
seminary, spoke briefly. He compared the condition of the seminary to that of a 
critically sick patient who might expire at any time. He explained that the trustees 
recognized the gravity of the situation and that in the session in which they voted 
to back the faculty's request to receive new students as usual, the trustees had 
met until 5:00 AM. He also introduced the position paper which had been pre- 
pared by the Board of Trustees. It called for a continuation of the seminary within 
the framework of Seinan Gakuin University, but for the last year of seminary work 
to be a practical course under the direct supervision of the JBC. 

For the rest of the evening and nearly all day Friday a lengthy discussion of vari- 
ous aspects of the problem ensued. Finally, when the vote was taken, it was 9-1 
against receiving new students. Recognizing that structurally the seminary is a 
department of Seinan Gakuin University, the Executive Committee of the JBC 
took its action not in the form of a final decision but as a strong request to the 
Board of Trustees of Seinan Gakuin University. 

Various interpretations were placed on the recommendation not to receive new 



200 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

students. There was a strong feeling that the time had come for a definitive study 
of the seminary. Various groups within the convention both on the right and the 
left were calling for a seminary independent of the university structure. To have 
received new students would have committed the seminary to continue to operate 
within the university structure for another three to five years, that is, until the new 
students graduated. Some maintained that in voting against receiving new stu- 
dents they were seeking to lighten the load of the seminary faculty. If new stu- 
dents were admitted, there would doubtless follow a struggle on both sides to 
claim their loyalty, thus prolonging the struggle. 

I returned to Fukuoka with a heavy heart, feeling that I had failed the seminary in 
its hour of greatest need. Some members of the executive committee had said 
they were shocked by my report. In my effort to be completely candid I may have 
painted too black a picture and given the impression that the seminary faculty was 
incompetent to carry on. Some were critical of the decision of the faculty to re- 
sume classes. They maintained that the faculty had not adequately answered the 
complaints of the striking students and that in announcing the resumption of 
classes we had cut off dialogue with the strike group. 

On February 2, the strike group presented the seminary with a Declaration of 
Battle (toso sengen). In it they called for the dissolution of the seminary faculty 
and pledged to fight to the finish for the "liberation" of the seminary. It was clear 
that they interpreted the action of the Executive Committee of the JBC as a victory 
fortheirside. 

The seminary faculty appealed to the Executive Committee of the JBC to recon- 
sider its position, but this committee in its next meeting simply reaffirmed its posi- 
tion that the seminary should not receive new students. After this, the standing 
committee of the Board of Trustees of Seinan Gakuin University decided to com- 
mit the responsibility for a decision on the matter to the Convention. Thereupon, 
the Board of Trustees of the seminary reversed its position to bring it in line with 
that of the Executive Committee of the JBC. Thus, the final decision was made. 
The seminary would not receive new students in 1971 . 

The strike group never withdrew its strike declaration nor its battle declaration. 
Nevertheless, with the beginning of a new school year in April, tension within the 
seminary gradually began to subside. Some of the striking students even regis- 
tered for classes, though they made a point of avoiding classes taught by full-time 
faculty members and selecting only courses taught by visiting lecturers. Kazuo 
Nakamura, who had been accepted for Th.D. work at The Southern Baptist The- 
ological Seminary, was requested to defer his study and return to the seminary. 
His return in May added great strength to the faculty. Gradually, the strike stu- 
dents began to leave Fukuoka. Most of those who had registered for classes did 
not complete their work in them. 



SEMINARY CRISIS 201 

How should one evaluate the seminary struggle? I was too much involved in it to 
be able to speak with the detachment of an uninvolved bystander. All I can do is 
state my views after a number of years of reflection on the matter. 

First, the struggle made me deeply aware of the power of the demonic. That 
such a crisis should have occurred within a Christian institution among Christian 
people is a commentary on the sinfulness of human nature. Constantly I had to 
struggle, and not always successfully, against the temptation to rationalize my 
failures, to absolutize my position, and to combat hate with hate. 

Second, the struggle made me aware how isolated the seminary had become 
from the churches. When the seminary was under attack and struggling for its 
very existence, few came to its defense. This is an indictment of our failure to 
remain vitally related to the people we were seeking to serve. 

Third, we could have won more support during the dispute if we had been more 
skillful in theoretical argument and if we had kept the churches better informed. 
Our inadequacies in these areas only served to weaken our position. 

Fourth, though the atmosphere of heated confrontation was intense, there was, 
fortunately, never any physical violence such as many schools in Japan had 
earlier experienced. There was no barricade and no use of the riot police. 

Fifth, the dispute resulted in the resignations of two professors. It seems also to 
have been responsible for the tragic death of our librarian. 

Sixth, it had a devastating influence upon the lives of most of the students in the 
strike group. As best I have been able to ascertain, only one of the strike group is 
in vocational Christian ministry today. Most of those who were involved soon 
dropped out of church altogether. The truly sad thing is that before this infection 
struck, many of these had been very fine young people with a great potential for 
Christian witness. 

Seventh, the strike helped contribute to the demise of Seinan Bible School. The 
Bible School had been started in the sixties to help meet the needs of students 
who did not have the academic preparation to pass the entrance exams to Seinan 
but who nevertheless felt the call to ministry. During the course of the strike, the 
Bible School students registered their objection to having a curriculum separate 
from the seminary. This undercut the Bible School's reason for existence. This 
then led to our reverting to the system we had had before the creation of the Bible 
School, that of admitting these students to the seminary as special students and 
giving them a certificate of study rather than a diploma upon their completion of 
the prescribed course of study. 

Eighth, the crisis caused me to search my own heart as I never had before, and 
it laid bare a need which made me open for spiritual renewal. 

Ninth, the struggle opened the way for the reconstruction of the seminary. The 
convention fully explored alternatives to a university-related seminary. This led to 



202 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

the firm conviction throughout the convention that continuing the seminary as the 
Theological Department of Seinan Gakuin University is the best course open to 
us. This has led to a fruitful dialogue between the convention and the university. 
Long treated as the stepchild of Seinan Gakuin University, the Theological De- 
partment is now becoming more fully integrated into the university. At the same 
time, through a new management committee replacing the trustee system, the 
convention is retaining control of the seminary. Both the Japan Baptist Conven- 
tion and Seinan Gakuin University are committed to strengthening the faculty and 
staff of the seminary. A seminary that is academically strong, spiritually alert, 
practically relevant, and socially responsible is the clear goal of all involved. 



21 
Spiritual Renewal 



Our struggle with Cathy and then with the seminary had kept me in a state of 
tension for many months. Thus when our annual mission meeting was over and 
we headed for the mountains I was desperately in need of a vacation. 

Since the summer of 1958 when we first vacationed at Nojiri, we had spent 
about three weeks each summer in this beautiful missionary community in the 
mountains of Nagano Prefecture on the "back side" of Japan. Here every sum- 
mer about three hundred families come together for recreation and fellowship in a 
setting abundantly blessed by nature. The community is largely an interdenomi- 
national Protestant missionary fellowship, though it also includes some Japanese 
people and a few from the world of business and diplomacy. The lake constantly 
beckons to those who love swimming, boating, and yachting, while tennis courts 
and a small, rather crude nine-hole golf course provide other recreational outlets. 
Worship services on Sundays, a theological discussion group on Thursday eve- 
nings, weekday Bible study groups for women, swimming classes for all ages, 
and an occasional musical or play— all of these provided by volunteer workers- 
offer a variety of enriching experiences. 

One of the chief values of Nojiri for us has been that it has enabled us to get to 
know missionaries of other denominations who live outside the Fukuoka area. In 
the summer of 1971, 1 enjoyed yachting and tennis, reading and fellowship with 
friends, while escaping the oppressive heat of August in Fukuoka. 

Returning to Fukuoka from Nojiri, I resumed my responsibilities at the seminary 
and in the Nagazumi Church. By this time the atmosphere of confrontation which 
had prevailed so long in the seminary had passed away. Faculty members and stu- 
dents alike were enjoying studying together and were working hard to restore real 
community life. I now began focusing my attention on Nagazumi Church. 

During the days of crisis at the seminary God had mysteriously provided the 
strength that I needed. Now, however, I felt a spiritual dryness more acute than I 
had ever known before. My church-related responsibilities included preaching on 
Sundays, leading prayer meeting on Wednesday evenings, and conducting a 

203 



204 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Bible study for the ladies on Friday mornings. I can honestly say that during this 
fall I worked harder on sermons than ever before. Yet my preaching seemed drier 
and less productive than ever. Just at the time when I should have been rejoicing 
and praising the Lord for bringing me through two crisis experiences, I felt as 
though I were walking through a spiritual desert. As the pastor of the Nagazumi 
Church, I had the responsibility for feeding the congregation and leading the 
people in witnessing to the lost, but how could I nourish others if I myself was not 
being nourished? 

Then on Tuesday evening, November 16, 1971, I attended an interdenomina- 
tional missionary prayer meeting in the home of a Canadian Presbyterian mission- 
ary in Fukuoka. This prayer meeting, announced for the purpose of deepening the 
spiritual life, had been scheduled originally for Monday night, the night of the 
week when missionary meetings of various kinds are normally held. To suit the 
convenience of the visiting speaker, however, the time had suddenly been 
changed to Tuesday. This resulted in a drastic drop in attendance, only eleven of 
us being present. 

The visiting speaker that evening was a Canadian minister named Les Pritchard. 
He introduced himself as representing the charismatic movement. As far as I can 
remember, I had not heard the term before. That year Pritchard had organized a 
team of Christian leaders from various parts of the world to promote the charis- 
matic movement in Japan. For several years thereafter he did the same each year. 

Speaking informally in a low-key manner, Pritchard described miracles which 
he had witnessed which paralleled those of biblical days. I was amazed. I knew I 
had never seen anything like that. Moreover, what he was saying didn't fit my 
theology. In an article on "The Problem of Miracles" in the April, 1956 issue of the 
Review and Expositor I had taken the position that the age of miracles was over. 
The miracles recorded in the Bible, I pointed out in that article, fall mainly into 
three periods: those associated with Moses and the exodus; those associated 
with Elijah and Elisha in the contest with the worshipers of Baal; and those associ- 
ated with Jesus and the apostles in the unique events of our Lord's ministry and in 
the founding of the early church. All of these events, according to my interpreta- 
tion, were designed to attest a special revelation God was giving in history. But 
now, I said, God's revelation is complete, the canon is closed, and we no longer 
expect such miracles. But here was a man sitting beside me who told of similar 
miracles which he claimed to have seen with his own eyes. 

Next, Pritchard directed our attention to 1 Corinthians 14:14, and, appealing to 
this passage, interpreted speaking in tongues as a method of by-passing the 
censor of the intellect. He illustrated his meaning by telling of an interpreter he 
had used in Taiwan who interpreted into Chinese not what the speaker actually 



SPIRITUAL RENEWAL 205 

said but what the interpreter thought he should have said. "Our minds are like 
that," he said. "They often censor what the Holy Spirit wants to say to us and 
through us." 

I understood the illustration, but reacted negatively to it. "I have spent over 
forty years trying to train my mind," I said. "Now you tell me I ought to take it and 
throw it into neutral." 

After this, I argued with him, in a friendly way, I hope, over the interpretation of 1 
Corinthians 14. In writing my doctoral dissertation on "The Pauline Doctrine of 
Love" I had dealt very thoroughly with 1 Corinthians 13 and had studied it in con- 
text. I felt sure that I understood 1 Corinthians 14. 

In closing, Pritchard suggested that we spend a few moments in worship. Then 
we stood and formed a circle as everyone began praying quietly. Pritchard, who 
was standing beside me, began raising his hands and praising the Lord in English 
and then in tongues. This did not shake me nearly so much as an utterance given 
by a missionary from another city whom I had just met that evening. In beautiful, 
fluent English he spoke for about half a minute in the first person, as if God him- 
self were speaking: "Fear not, my purposes for you are good and not evil. I will be 
with you, bless you, and strengthen you." I learned later that this was understood 
as a word of prophecy such as Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 14:3. 

While we were standing together in this circle, I felt led to commit to God a prob- 
lem which had been troubling me for some time. It was an area in my life in which 
again and again I had suffered defeat and Satan had won the victory. Quite simply I 
prayed an audible prayer that went something like this: "Lord, you have said in 
your word that if we cherish sin in our hearts you will not hear. Remove this sin 
from my life which has been hindering my sweet communion with you." 

No sooner had I finished this prayer than Pritchard laid his hand on my head and 
said that God was going to use me in a mighty way in the seminary. He followed 
this statement with a short prayer on my behalf. 

As far as I was concerned, no bells rang and there was no emotional experience 
of any kind, but I did receive the quiet assurance that night that God had taken my 
problem and was doing for me what I could not do for myself. 

That evening I received some books on the Holy Spirit written from a charis- 
matic, Neo-Pentecostal point of view. The next day as I started reading these, I 
discovered a spiritual appetite welling up within me that completely amazed me. I 
now realized that more than anything I wanted to read the Bible, to pray, to read 
books on the Holy Spirit, and to talk with others about the life in Christ. The words 
of Psalm 42:1, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul 
after thee, God," were on my lips constantly as my own prayer. 

Reflecting back on my Christian life, I began to ask myself what I had done to 



206 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

cultivate my spiritual life. In doing so I was stabbed into the awareness that while I 
had given much attention to training my mental faculties in the service of Christ, I 
had spent relatively little time in cultivating my devotional life. My daily prayer 
times had tended to be short and perfunctory, and sometimes I had skipped them 
altogether. I had studied the Bible, to be sure, but much of this had been in con- 
nection with preparing lectures and sermons. What I needed to do was to let God 
speak to me through his Word. Then, and only then, would I be prepared to speak 
to others. The elementary disciplines of the Christian life— prayer, Bible study, 
and meditation— began to take on new freshness and richness for me. 

In January, 1972, I became chairman of the mission's evangelism committee; 
this responsibility entailed a good bit of traveling. The travel gave me the oppor- 
tunity to visit missionaries and others in the Tokyo, Kyoto, and Kobe areas who 
were experiencing spiritual renewal, and listen to their testimonies. I also at- 
tended some charismatic prayer meetings in Tokyo and Kyoto, as well as a few in 
Fukuoka. 

The choruses I was learning were enriching my worship experience. I was also 
thrilled by the spontaneity, openness, and warmth which characterized the prayer 
meetings. At the same time, spiritual pride, which had always been highly dis- 
tasteful to me, seemed to be an undercurrent in some of the meetings. I had some 
anxiety also about the biblical basis of some of the views expressed and some of 
the practices I witnessed. 

The ecumenical dimension of the charismatic prayer meetings was particularly 
fascinating. One small prayer meeting in Kyoto was attended by a Pentecostal 
missionary from Sweden, an Episcopalian lady from St. Luke's Church in Seattle, 
Washington, two Catholic nuns from a Catholic girls' school in Kyoto, and several 
Baptist missionaries. I knew that theologically I was poles apart from some of 
these people. Nevertheless, I was conscious of a unity in the Spirit based on a 
common devotion to Jesus Christ as Lord. One of the Catholic sisters, who had 
been with her order for over twenty years, spoke very excitedly about the new 
dimensions she was discovering in prayer. No longer was she confined to her 
rosary or her prayer book, but she was learning to pray in her own words. 

A number of characteristics seemed evident in the lives of the people who were 
experiencing renewal. There was a joy in the Lord that bubbled up from the in- 
side. Along with this went a strong note of praise and thanksgiving. All testified 
concerning a deepened devotional life. There was also evidence of a genuine love 
for the Lord and for others. A unity of the Spirit transcending denominational lines 
was apparent. Faith that God answers specific prayers here and now was also 
manifest. Along with all of these traits went a new boldness in witness for Christ. 
This seemed to me to be very close to New Testament Christianity. In those days I 



SPIRITUAL RENEWAL 207 

often spoke of myself as embarked on an exciting spiritual pilgrimage. 

Nevertheless, I was aware that spiritual experience alone cannot be the final 
test of truth. We must evaluate all of our experiences by the canon of God's reve- 
lation in the Scriptures. Mindful that all kinds of aberrations are possible if one 
does not stay close to the Bible, I resolved to make a quest for understanding of 
what was happening to me and others in the light of God's Word a part of my spir- 
itual pilgrimage. My book Evaluating the Charismatic Movement published in 1977 
by Judson Press represented at least a partial fruition of that quest. 

Many of the books I was reading spoke of two basic experiences in the Christian 
life— the new birth through which spiritual life is imparted and baptism in the Spirit 
through which one is empowered for service. They said that this two-staged 
experience in the Christian life is analagous to the experience of Jesus who was 
born of the Spirit (virgin birth) and later baptized in the Spirit and thus empowered 
for service. They also pointed to two stages in the experience of the apostles. 
They had life from Christ before Pentecost, but it was through the coming of the 
Spirit at Pentecost that they were empowered for service. These books also ap- 
pealed to the experience of the Samaritans in Acts 8, that of Paul in Acts 9, and 
that of the Ephesian Christians in Acts 19 to bolster their interpretation of Chris- 
tian experience as occurring in two stages. 

I was finding this interpretation to be very appealing and was beginning to 
accept it, when I decided to try to discover what Paul had to say about it. Surely, 
Paul should have something to say about anything as important as this, I thought. 
He more than any other New Testament writer gives a clear theological interpreta- 
tion of Christian experience. But try as I might, I could not find this two-stage 
theology spelled out in Paul. This bothered me. Was the biblical witness then 
divided at this point? 

Then it was that I heard a taped sermon by Bill Bright, director of Campus Cru- 
sade. In it he told of a man named Yates who owned a large ranch in Texas. But 
the depression came and as debts piled up Yates found himself on the verge of 
bankruptcy. One day as he was walking along he saw some oil on top of the 
stream that flowed through his ranch. Remembering that some oil companies 
were drilling not far away, he called a specialist and pointed out this situation to 
him. 

"I think we ought to drill," the specialist said. And drill they did! Up came a 
gusher producing thousands of barrels of oil a day! Then they drilled again and 
the same thing happened. As a result, this man who had been on the verge of 
bankruptcy became a millionaire overnight. 

Bright made the obvious application. "Because Yates owned the title to the 
land, everything on top of the ground and under the ground belonged to him. The 



208 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

problem with him was that he had not possessed his possessions. Many Chris- 
tians are like that." 

As I heard this story, a light flashed on for me. When one accepts Christ, the 
living Christ through the Holy Spirit comes into his heart to dwell. He receives 
eternal life. He becomes a child of God. The privilege of prayer is opened to him, 
and he addresses God as his Father. He also discovers that he has entered a 
family relationship, for those who like him know God as their Father are his 
brothers and sisters in Christ. 

But the problem is that many people stop there. They never learn to receive the 
spiritual nourishment they need through prayer and a daily study of God's Word. 
They don't share their faith through witness. Temptations assail them and they 
succumb. Failing to confess these sins immediately and receive God's cleansing, 
they begin to wonder if they have really been saved. 

Paul enjoins: "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye 
in him" (Col. 2:6). Notice that Paul does not say, "Ye must press on to be baptized 
in the Spirit." Rather, he says that the one who has received Christ is to continue 
to live and grow in him. All the treasures that God has for us are in Christ, but we 
appropriate them through the work of the Holy Spirit. And the process of appro- 
priation goes on throughout the Christian life— and beyond that— even through all 
eternity. The basic question then is not whether we have had one experience, two 
experiences, or a dozen. The basic question concerns the quality of our relation- 
ship to God through Jesus Christ, whether we are really abiding in him as the 
branch abides in the vine (John 15). 

When our mission family came together the third week in July, 1972 for its an- 
nual mission meeting, a potentially dangerous situation was developing. On the 
one hand, there was a group of missionaries who felt that through their contact 
with the charismatic movement they had been ushered into a new depth of spir- 
itual experience which everyone should hear about and share. On the other hand, 
there was another group of missionaries who felt that this type of experience 
wasn't biblical, and certainly not baptistic, and who were quite sure they didn't 
want any part of it. In between, the vast majority was quite bewildered by it all. 

I believe that God used me in a measure during that mission meeting as a recon- 
ciling influence. I felt I could understand why some of our missionaries were so 
excited and thrilled over what they regarded as a deeper walk with the Lord. I also 
believed I understood why some of our other missionaries were so upset by what 
was occurring and reacted negatively. I prayed for wisdom that I might neither 
quench the Spirit nor promote division within our mission family. 

The program called for me to lead the mission family in a time of prayer and 
sharing following a message by our visiting speaker. In the opening part of this 



SPIRITUAL RENEWAL 209 

sharing time I gave my testimony concerning what God had been doing in my life. 
Declaring very clearly that I was not interested in promoting any movement, I went 
on to say that I was interested in the fullness of life in the Spirit. And I praised God 
for having given me a spiritual hunger and thirst that he alone could satisfy. 

There followed in rapid succession a series of testimonies and expressions on 
both sides of the charismatic divide. As prayer concerns were expressed, we 
paused to remember them at that time rather than trying to lump them all together 
in a prayer at the close of the meeting, as so often is done. The living Christ 
walked among us that evening, and he visited us to heal and to bless. 

In my quest for a closer walk with the Lord and a deeper understanding of the 
work of the Holy Spirit I read dozens of books. Many of these were written by 
people actively involved in the charismatic movement. Some were basically testi- 
mony books, while others sought to indicate the biblical and theological basis for 
what they termed the "charismatic renewal." I also read books on the other end 
of the spectrum intended to refute the claims of charismatics. In the course of my 
study, I began to perceive that there was a dearth of literature on the subject writ- 
ten from a neutral stance. What was needed, I concluded, was a treatment of the 
movement which sought neither to promote it nor to discredit it but to understand 
it and interpret its meaning for our time. It should be a comprehensive study and 
not concentrate on just one facet of the subject such as speaking in tongues, 
healing, or exorcism. 

In keeping with my own interest in this subject, I began to write what I called 
"interim reports" for the Shingaku Ronshu, the journal of the Theological Depart- 
ment of Seinan Gakuin University. I had in mind writing three articles. The first 
one would introduce the movement and set it forth as seen by its adherents. The 
second would treat it from the standpoint of its opponents. The third would give 
my own biblical and theological evaluation of it. The first two articles appeared in 
1972 and 1973. They were hastily prepared and rather superficial. The third article, 
which was to have given my appraisal of the movement, was never written. One 
reason was that I had become dissatisfied with the approach I was taking. I had 
started writing before I knew where I was going. What I wanted to write was not a 
series of articles but a book on the subject. 

However, this project would have to be deferred until our next furlough. I 
needed time for research that I did not have in Japan. Resources available to me 
there were also inadequate for such a project. I desired to write the book as soon 
as possible while interest in the movement was still strong. But I recognized also 
the need for time for reflection in order to produce a solid, balanced work. 

In the meantime, other matters began to claim my time. I had to develop a new 
course on the history of doctrine. I treated this in two units over a period of two 



210 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

years. I also prepared a study paper for the Hayama Missionary Seminar held at 
Amagi Sanso in January of 1975. This interdenominational, male missionary con- 
ference held each year during the first week of January has for over two decades 
provided missionary men of many Protestant denominations with enriching ecu- 
menical fellowship. It has also stimulated some of the best thinking on practical 
and theological themes to come from the missionary community. The subject 
assigned to me was "Biblical Perspectives on Death." I had time in the seminar to 
read only parts of my fifty-six-page study paper on the subject, though the paper 
in full was printed in the Hayama Missionary Seminar Report, 1975. 

Our fourth regular full year furlough began March 2, 1975. To my mind, it was the 
most meaningful, certainly the most productive, furlough I had had. After a brief 
visit with family members in March, we flew to Zurich, Switzerland, arriving there 
April 1. Comfortably housed in one of the apartments of the Baptist Theological 
Seminary in RCischlikon, one of the suburbs of Zurich, I spent most of my time 
studying German and trying to get a grasp of the theological and spiritual climate 
of Europe. 

Often on weekends, and sometimes for more extended periods, we made vari- 
ous trips in central Europe. A used Opel Kadet Chevrolet, which we bought 
shortly after our arrival and sold just before our departure, gave us the mobility we 
needed for this period. Our trips took us three times into Germany, twice into 
Leichtenstein and Austria, and once each into Italy and France. The time we spent 
in the Alps was particularly refreshing for me. 

Theological conversations with Professor Thorwald Lorenzen of the Baptist 
Theological Seminary in RCischlikon, and lectures given by Professors JOrgen 
Moltmann and Eberhard Jtingel in Tubingen, by Wolfhart Pannenberg in Munich, 
and by Eduard Schweizer, Gerhard Ebeling, Helmut Thielicke, and Markus Barth 
in Zurich and RCischlikon were for me highlights of our stay. This time in Europe, 
spent in countries where state-church emphases have been strong, deepened my 
conviction of the strategic importance of the Baptist emphasis upon a free church 
in a free state. 

We returned to the States by way of Denmark, Norway, and England, arriving 
back on Kay's birthday, August 12. One of the missionary houses at Southeastern 
Baptist Theological Seminary then became our headquarters for the rest of our 
furlough. 

It was at Southeastern Seminary that I did a large part of the research and most 
of the writing for my book on the charismatic movement. Except for the week- 
ends, when I usually had a speaking engagement, work on this project occupied 
most of my time— morning, noon, and night. My good friend Ray Brown provided 
invaluable assistance to me in this endeavor, first in assisting me in preparing a 



SPIRITUAL RENEWAL 21 1 

workable outline and then in reading the manuscript critically, chapter by chapter. 
His judicious criticisms made it necessary for me to re-write certain sections for 
the sake of a more readable and balanced presentation. It came as a real shock to 
Kay and me to hear of his death on December 16, 1977, of a heart attack following 
a viral infection. 

Shortly before I was ready to begin writing, Harold Twiss, Managing Editor of 
Judson Press, visited Southeastern to talk with various professors about possible 
writing projects. In a conference which I scheduled with him I explained why I 
thought another book on the charismatic movement was needed. He listened 
sympathetically and carried a copy of my outline back with him to discuss with 
others connected with Judson Press. After returning to Valley Forge for these 
consultations, he wrote me making some suggestions about my outline, which I 
accepted, and encouraged me to send him some of my writing on the subject. 
After sending the introduction and first chapter, and receiving a favorable re- 
sponse, I sent him the rest of the manuscript, chapter by chapter. 

No contract was made with Judson Press until I had sent in the whole manu- 
script. Then this publisher accepted it on the condition that the chapter which I 
had entitled "Theological Polarities" be eliminated. This was in interest of short- 
ening the book. I agreed to this with the understanding that I would be permitted 
to submit this material to a theological journal for publication. Shortening this 
section considerably, i submitted it to the Scottish Journal of Theology, which 
published it in the fall of 1977 in an article entitled "A Survey of Some Tensions 
Emerging in the Charismatic Movement." A listing of the topics dealt with in the 
article will indicate something of its scope: The Gifts of the Spirit Versus the Fruit 
of the Spirit; Experience Versus Doctrine; Crisis Experience Versus Growth Expe- 
rience; Emotionalism Versus Intellectualism; Spiritual Elitism Versus Spiritual 
Complacency; Pietism Versus Social Activism; and Ecumenism Versus Divisive- 
ness. 

My book entitled Evaluating the Charismatic Movements divided into two parts. 
Part one gives a descriptive treatment of the movement in its contemporary set- 
ting and its historical background. Part two deals with the theology of the move- 
ment. Each chapter gives a descriptive treatment of the theological position of 
charismatics with regard to various issues, and this is followed by my theological 
evaluation. The book was translated into Japanese by Kumiko Otsuka and pub- 
lished in Japan by the Jordan Press in the fall of 1978. 

One of the central points which I sought to make in the book is that you cannot 
program the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works with a sovereign freedom 
which refuses to be stereotyped. Charismatics tend to program his work when 
they insist on the two-stage nature of Christian experience and when they inter- 



212 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

pret tongues as a necessary sign of baptism in the Spirit. Noncharismatics, on the 
other hand, often fall into a similar mistake by denying the theological validity of 
any second experience and by relegating the gifts of the Spirit spoken of in 1 Cor- 
inthians 12 to the apostolic age alone. 

I believe that in the New Testament baptism in the Spirit is associated with what 
James D. G. Dunn calls "the conversion-initiation experience." In this emphasis 
most noncharismatics are correct. But it is also associated with power for living 
the Christian life and witnessing for Christ which is all too little in evidence in 
traditional Christianity. 

Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, the story of Jesus is just ancient history. 
It is only when the Holy Spirit takes the things of Christ and vitalizes them in our 
experience that what Christ did forus becomes effective in us. The crying need of 
Christendom in every generation is for a rediscovery in personal and corporate 
experience of what the New Testament means by being filled with the Spirit, 
walking by the Spirit, and living by the Spirit. 



22 
The Holy Spirit's Continuing Work 



It seems that when one has an experience which revitalizes his or her spiritual 
life that person is soon confronted with one or two temptations. On the one hand, 
there is the temptation to succumb to spiritual pride. One is apt to think of one's 
self as having arrived, to take one's own experience as the norm and judge every- 
one else by it, to try to communicate an experience instead ofa living relationship 
with a living Lord. On the other hand, there is the tendency to complacency— to 
return to the old way of life as though nothing had happened, as though there had 
been no fresh visitation from the Lord. 

I soon discovered that I had to do battle on both fronts. When I became aware 
that God was leading me into a deeper fellowship with himself, the first temptation 
beset me, sometimes in such a subtle manner that I was hardly aware of it. Grad- 
ually, I began to learn that most people were not interested whether or not I had 
had a new experience with the Lord. The crucial question was whether I was 
sensitive to others and responsive to their needs. As I became more conscious of 
the Lord's power, I also became more aware of the power of the enemy, that in the 
Christian life we are constantly in battle with the forces of darkness. Though I 
recognized the power of Satan, my theology would not let me try to evade my 
responsibility for my own weaknesses and failures with the words, "The devil 
made me do it." Certainly, I had not arrived! There was a crying need for growth. 

Before long, I became aware also of the tendency toward complacency. The 
problem was not that of trying to hold on to an experience. The more one tries to 
do this the more certain that one is to lose it. Experiences are fleeting. Only the 
Lord is eternal. Emotions come and go, but Christ has promised to abide with us 
always. The task at hand was the cultivation of a day-by-day, moment-by-moment 
awareness of God's presence. 

I do not claim to have learned the secret. I hope that I am learning. I am not as 
good a Christian as I ought to be, as I want to be, or as I hope to be, but I am a 
better Christian than I used to be. I believe that God wants us to spend less time in 
Romans 7 (defeat) and more time in Romans 8 (victory). I certainly have not made 

213 



214 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Romans 8 my permanent address, but I have become more aware of a power not 
my own helping me to overcome temptation and strengthening me for witness. 
There is in my life, I believe, a deeper note of joy and praise and a greater sensi- 
tivity to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. For all of these things I praise the name 
which is above every name! 

Following my new encounter with the living Christ, prayer— both private and 
corporate— took on deeper meaning. About this time a group of missionaries in 
Fukuoka began to come together for prayer early in the morning once a week. 
There were some in the group who had no interest in anything with a charismatic 
flavor, but were interested in a vital prayer fellowship. Denominational labels — 
whether Baptist, Reformed, Presbyterian, or Church of God— were of no concern 
in this group. We were all brothers and sisters in Christ who wanted to know the 
Lord better and wanted to be more effective in his service. For the most part, we 
practiced short, conversational type prayer such as Rosalind Rinker introduces in 
her little book, Prayer: Conversing with God. 

For six months or so the meetings were held early on Tuesday mornings in the 
home of the Reformed Church missionary. Then for about two years we had them 
early on Wednesday mornings in our home. By using conversational type prayer 
we were able to spend most of our time in actual prayer rather than in talking 
about things for which we wanted to pray. Praying in this way also kept anyone 
from monopolizing the prayer time and made us all more aware of the Holy Spirit's 
leadership. Kay was a vital part of this prayer fellowship, and she often refreshed 
us with doughnuts and coffee after the prayer time. 

Twice we had a New Year's Eve watch-night service in our home for the mis- 
sionaries in our area who wished to attend. Both times about thirty missionaries of 
various denominational backgrounds were present. We began with refreshments 
and informal fellowship at 7:30 PM. Then beginning at 9:00 PM and continuing 
until shortly after midnight, we engaged in prayer and praise, while sharing expe- 
riences, prayer requests, and insights from God's Word. We closed each time by 
forming a circle and singing together the Lord's Prayer. 

Our Japanese spitz dog, Hime-chan (Princess), was always very much a part of 
the prayer meetings. Usually, she would be in my lap. At times she would try to 
join in the singing, especially when high notes were sounded. 

Usually, Hime-chan would lie in my lap for my early morning devotional periods. 
She always seemed restless until I sat down for this quiet time with her in my 
arms. Often I would tell God: "Father, just as this little dog wants to be with me, I 
want to be with you. Let me know the joy of your presence this morning, I pray." 

The weeks of vacation at Nojiri each summer also became more meaningful. 
Ever since our first visit to Nojiri, three things had been my concern: physical rest 



THE HOLY SPIRIT'S CONTINUING WORK 215 

and recreation, intellectual stimulation, and social life. Now a new dimension was 
added: spiritual enrichment. Prayer meetings of various kinds— charismatic and 
noncharismatic— helped to deepen my walk with the Lord. 

Two regular members of our prayer group were Max and Dottie Garrott. The 
news of Max's death following open-heart surgery in the Baptist Hospital in Win- 
ston-Salem, North Carolina hit us like a body blow. I had felt a special closeness to 
Max since the Lord had used a letter which he read in a Missionary Day service at 
Southern Seminary almost thirty years earlier to make me know that he wanted 
me in Japan. We were aware that Max was to have this serious operation and had 
been praying for him very earnestly. About six months earlier he had given us a 
scare when a heart problem resulted in his being hospitalized for several weeks. 
Examinations made in Winston-Salem in June had revealed the dire seriousness 
of his condition. Faced with the choice of not being able to function effectively as 
a missionary in Japan or of undergoing an operation in which he was told the risk 
factor would be extremely high, Max had opted for the operation. 

Two of the four Garrott children were in Japan and unable to attend the me- 
morial service held for Max in the chapel of the Foreign Mission Board in Rich- 
mond, Virginia. That being the case, we held a memorial service for Max in our 
home. Almost the entire Fukuoka missionary community joined with Elizabeth, 
the oldest child, and with Jack, the youngest, and his wife, for this time of remem- 
bering Max. Tears flowed freely, as did laughter, while I led the group in praising 
God for what this dear friend and true servant of God had meant to our lives and to 
the Kingdom. Akiko Endo Matsumura, who was like a daughter to the Garrotts, 
had flown down from Tokyo to participate in this service. 

My experience of spiritual renewal also had an effect on my preaching. It 
became less theoretical and more practical and life-centered. The concern to be 
biblical was unchanged, but I made more of a conscious effort to relate biblical 
truths to daily life. I tried to maintain balance in my preaching, but I gave major 
emphasis to the work of the Holy Spirit, to prayer, and to spiritual warfare. I dis- 
covered that it was not enough to prepare the sermon. I needed to let the Holy 
Spirit prepare the preacher. 

Asked to present a series of four Bible studies at our mission meeting in July of 
1976, 1 chose to deal with the work of the Holy Spirit. I had just finished writing my 
book on the charismatic movement, and the study I had made in this area became 
the reservoir from which I drew for these studies. The warm acceptance which our 
mission family gave these studies and the deep appreciation which they ex- 
pressed have been an abiding source of joy and satisfaction. 

I had expected a great revival to come to Nagazumi Church because of the 
awakening I had experienced. In this I was disappointed, because the kind of spir- 



216 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

itual renewal I had hoped for and prayed for did not come— at least not at once. 
Our prayer services became more meaningful, or at least it seemed so to me. 
Attendance in the other services, along with the number of baptisms rose grad- 
ually, but there was no dramatic growth. 

In the early months of 1972 we had gone through a rather long period without 
any new people coming to the church. One Tuesday morning I asked our mission- 
ary prayer group to pray that God would give us one new person in church Sun- 
day. I prayed for this all week, and, I believe, I prayed with faith that it was going to 
happen. When Sunday came, however, it was a very rainy day. My faith began to 
falter. Certainly, no new person was going to come to our church on a day like 
this. 

But that morning Mrs. Nakashima came to our Sunday School with her two small 
children. She and her husband had spent two years in Oklahoma City, where Dr. 
Nakashima had worked and studied in one of the hospitals. Before she and her 
family left Oklahoma, members of this church gave Mrs. Nakashima my name. 
They had no way of knowing that the church nearest Mrs. Nakashima's home 
would be the one of which I was pastor. Members of the Oklahoma Church wrote 
me about this family and continued to pray for it. During the last service which I led 
in February of 1975 before we left for our fourth furlough, Mrs. Nakashima made a 
decision to become a Christian. She was baptized a few weeks later on Easter 
Sunday. A little more than three years later, Tora Nakashima, the son and older 
child, then a high school freshman, was baptized. 

Since then, two wives of doctors who had gone with their husbands to the 
States on study leave and had had pleasant experiences there, have trusted 
Christ as Savior and followed him in baptism. Another doctor's wife, who was led 
to Christ through the ministry of the South Main Baptist Church in Houston, 
Texas, moved her membership to Nagazumi in the fall of 1977. These experiences 
have convinced us that many of our Baptist people in America can do effective 
foreign mission work within their own churches simply by coming to know and 
love the people of other nations, religions, and cultures living among them. 

Gradually, our church grew numerically, and a deepened understanding of our 
stewardship responsibilities developed. We were beginning to outgrow our 
temporary building, and the need for a new building became obvious. The original 
plan called for us to borrow the pre-fab supplied by the Japan Mission for a period 
of five years, but we requested and received permission to use it an additional 
year. My inability to give the church the time it needed had limited its growth in a 
measure. During this time we had had one regular, full-year furlough and a six- 
month emergency furlough. Much of the time also the seminary crisis had en- 
gaged the major part of my time and energy. We entered the new building in 



THE HOLY SPIRIT'S CONTINUING WORK 217 

September of 1973. Much more attractive than the prefab had been, it provided 
over twice as much space. The FMB had provided a nominal subsidy (about thir- 
teen percent of the total cost), and there had been some special gifts, but the 
Nagazumi Church itself provided or borrowed most of the funds necessary for the 
new building. This increased our pride in the building, and deepened our aware- 
ness of our stewardship responsibilities. 

The location of the new building on one of the main streets of the Nagazumi 
area gave the church a visibility that it had not had before. Immediately, attend- 
ance increased again dramatically, as it had earlier when we moved from the 
apartment into the prefab. 

In February of 1974, one of the Fukuoka pastors suggested to me that our 
church should consider calling Goki Saito as pastor. He would be receiving his 
Th.D. from Southern Seminary in May and would be looking for an opportunity of 
service in Japan. At this time I had served the church almost eight years from the 
beginning of the work. It had been my intention all along to lead the church to the 
point where it was strong enough to call and support a Japanese pastor. 

But was the church ready for this yet? We still had a debt on our building, and 
we had no pastorium. The church had never paid a pastor's salary, since mine was 
provided by the FMB. My first reaction to this suggestion was that it was too early 
for this step. But a seed had been planted. I knew Saito-sensei and had confi- 
dence in him. I felt that he was the type of man our church would want to call when 
it was ready for a Japanese pastor. But if we waited, our opportunity of getting him 
might be lost, and another person of his type might not be available when the 
church was ready to call a full-time pastor. I also knew the seminary needed some 
one to teach church history. Probably, he would be able to do this while serving 
the Nagazumi Church as pastor. I prayed about it and then talked with the pastor 
of the Hirao Church, for at that time Nagazumi was still technically a mission of 
that church. He encouraged me to put it before our people at Nagazumi. This I did. 
The church moved fast in extending a call to Saito-sensei, and he accepted. If our 
church had hesitated only a few weeks, it would have lost this wonderful oppor- 
tunity. I believe firmly that the Holy Spirit was in control of all that was involved in 
the coming of the Saito family to Nagazumi. 

Extending the call to Saito-sensei was an act of faith on the part of the Nagazumi 
Church. His acceptance of the call was also an act of faith, for the salary base was 
relatively low. But our people responded to the challenge. The first year pastor 
Saito was with us the church budget was doubled. We rented an apartment for the 
Saito family and began making plans for paying off the church debt and building a 
pastorium. 

Dr. Saito's spiritual and intellectual pilgrimage had prepared him well for the 



218 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

opportunities he now faced. As a junior high school boy he had entertained 
dreams of becoming a diplomat, and this dream had sustained him in his studies. 
Health problems which developed during his sophomore year in high school 
brought a marked decline in his grades and caused his dream to come crashing to 
the ground. Frustrated in regard to the fulfillment of his ambition, he decided to 
commit suicide in the traditional samurai manner, that is, by disemboweling him- 
self with a knife. 

As he had the knife in hand and was contemplating the act, lines from Shake- 
speare's Hamlet, "To be or not to be; that is the question," came to mind. If to die 
meant the end of everything, that would be fine. But what if death should provide 
no release, but simply torment for life's failures? He decided to defer suicide until 
he could look into the question of the afterlife. 

In seeking the answer to this question he turned to the Bible and discovered 
Jesus' promise of eternal life to those who believe. His heart was gripped by the 
words of Jesus in John 11:25-26: "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that be- 
lieveth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and 
believeth in me shall never die." 

Right away he started attending the Tokiwadai Baptist Church. The Holy Spirit 
had opened his heart so that the pastor's messages spoke to his deepest needs. 
He was grasped by the love of God revealed in Christ. Convinced that Christ had 
died for his sins, he shed tears of repentance, confessed his faith in Christ, and 
followed him in baptism. During a retreat led by Stanley Jones at Amagi Sanso a 
few months later, he surrendered his life to God for vocational Christian service. 

After four years at the International Christian University in Tokyo, Saito entered 
our seminary in Fukuoka for the regular three-year course. Then followed six 
years of pioneer evangelism at Akashi in Hyogo Prefecture, during which time he 
led in developing a self-supporting church. After this, he entered The Southern 
Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky for further study. Our semi- 
nary faculty had encouraged him to major in church history in order to take the 
place of Kobayashi-sensei, who had died of asthma. However, the problems our 
seminary faced following the crisis of 1970 made it impossible for it to invite Saito- 
sensei to join the faculty when he received his Th.D. degree from Southern Semi- 
nary in May of 1974. 

Then came the call from Nagazumi Church and shortly thereafter the invitation 
from the seminary to teach Baptist history and church history in the seminary on a 
visiting lecturer basis. 

Dr. Saito was able to supply Nagazumi with the leadership it needed at this 
point. His administrative gifts made up for my weaknesses in this area. A good 
preacher, teacher, and pastor, he was able to inspire the church with the vision it 



THE HOLY SPIRIT'S CONTINUING WORK 219 

needed for advance. Nor did he rely upon human strength either. From the begin- 
ning there was a strong emphasis in his ministry upon prayer and the work of the 
Holy Spirit. 

Usually, before a church calls a new pastor, the former pastor has moved on to a 
new field. But in this case I was still around and would be until our furlough began 
about seven months later. Aware of the delicacy of this situation, I retired from 
leadership and made it clear that I regarded Dr. Saito as pastor. Fortunately, he is 
not an insecure or jealous man. He knew that I had recommended him to the 
church and that I loved him and wanted him to succeed. At his request I became 
associate pastor. A warm spirit of fellowship and cooperation developed between 
the Saito family and Kay and me. This close association with this wonderful 
couple and their two children has proved to be one of the richest experiences of 
our lives. 

The great harvest of souls for which I had been praying did not come while I was 
pastor. In God's providence it came later. Dr. Saito became pastor in August of 
1974, and we left for furlough March 2, 1975. There were eight baptisms in 1974, 
the largest number we had had in any year. In 1975, there were twenty-four, the 
second largest number for any church in the convention. How happy I was that 
God had given this abundant harvest at this particular time! I had planted and 
Saito-sensei watered, but God gave the growth. 

During the year we were away, the church increased the pastor's salary, paid 
off the debt on the church building, and borrowed money and built a pastorium. At 
the same time, there were large increases in gifts to the Cooperative Program and 
to the Christmas offering for missions. 

The growth of the church made expanded facilities necessary and provided the 
resources to make such expansion possible. In February of 1979, the church 
began a $140,000 building project to provide an educational building and to en- 
large the church sanctuary. 

The Nagazumi Baptist Church is one of the fastest growing churches in the JBC. 
What accounts for its growth? God alone has the full answer, but here are a few 
reasons, as I see them. 

First, the church is strategically located in a rapidly growing community. 

Second, it is blessed with a good pastor who inspires the church with vision and 
leads it toward the realization of its goals. 

Third, the Wednesday night prayer service is an hour of power. The last half 
hour is devoted to conversational prayer in small groups with major emphasis 
upon intercession for the lost. 

Fourth, good leadership for the Sunday School has resulted in a relatively 
strong program of graded Bible study. 



220 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Fifth, the church has always prepared its budget not on the basis of anticipated 
income but on the basis of felt need. Then it has prayed and pledged until the 
budget needs have been met. 

Sixth, the church has never been plagued by factionalism but has always been 
blessed with a warm fellowship which calls forth the best in others. 

Seventh, a number of regularly scheduled home meetings have brought a good 
many ladies into contact with the gospel message and then led them into faith in 
Christ and the fellowship of the church. 

Eighth, the emphasis upon winning the family to Christ has been growing year 
by year. Members of the church are praying for lost ones within their families and 
actively witnessing to them. 

While experiencing real joy in God's blessings upon Nagazumi Church, our 
hearts were also overflowing with gratitude for God's blessings upon Cathy. 
Cathy's experience at Hollins was a happy one. In February of 1972, while I was 
not at home, Kay received a telephone call from Cathy announcing that she had 
been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the national scholastic society. Then she went on 
to tell her mother that she wanted to marry Rob. Kay was not surprised, because 
for several months we had been hearing a lot about Raboteau T. Wilder, Jr. Cathy 
asked her mother not to tell me, since Rob wanted to do things properly and write 
a letter for my permission. 

Kay has always been able to keep any secret entrusted to her, and, difficult 
though it was, she kept this one until the letter from Rob arrived. On the basis of 
what Cathy had written us and what Rob had told us of himself, we had every rea- 
son to rejoice. The son of a doctor in High Point, North Carolina, Rob was a sec- 
ond-year student in Duke University Law School. Cathy had come to know him 
when she had gone home for visits with Rob's sister, Martha, who was one of her 
good friends at Hollins. 

The wedding was held in the Duke University Chapel on Saturday afternoon, 
September 2, a few months after Cathy's graduation from Hollins. Kay and I re- 
turned to the States at personal expense to attend the wedding. Ray Brown offici- 
ated at the ceremony, and in traditional fashion I gave the bride away. Kay and I 
were almost as happy at this wedding as we had been at our own. 

Gastonia, North Carolina became the home of the young couple after Rob fin- 
ished law school and passed his North Carolina bar exam. News that Cathy was 
expecting a baby in late December of 1976 thrilled us. We made plans for Kay to 
return to the States to help Cathy after the birth of her baby. 

The much-awaited phone call came on New Year's eve at 3:00 PM. Cathy had 
used the Lamaze natural childbirth program, and the delivery was an easy one 
with Rob in the delivery room at the time. Cathy and Rob placed the call together 



THE HOLY SPIRIT'S CONTINUING WORK 221 

less than an hour after Cathy gave birth to Catherine Culpepper Wilder. With great 
joy and excitement I drove to the airport to get the plane tickets for Kay. When I 
returned, however, Kay was in tears. Cathy and Rob had called again and relayed 
the sad news that the baby had a greatly enlarged heart which made it difficult for 
her to breathe. She needed much special care and obviously would not be able to 
leave the hospital when it was time for her mother to be discharged. Cathy and 
Rob advised Kay not to come at that time. Reluctantly, I returned the tickets. 

Catherine was placed in the intensive care unit of the Charlotte Memorial Hos- 
pital. We took comfort in the fact that the best possible medical attention was 
being given her. Her breathing was only seventy-five percent of normal. This 
made the constant use of an artificial respirator necessary. 

There followed days of anxious waiting and praying. We loved little Catherine, 
though we had never seen her. We wanted her to live, but what kind of life would 
she have if she did? Twice her heart seemed to have stopped and then it was stim- 
ulated into starting again. Our minds went back twenty-four years when Kay had 
experienced gas poisoning during an early stage of pregnancy and we were told 
that if the pregnancy went full term the baby would probably be abnormal. Now we 
experienced the same anxiety with reference to Catherine. Surely, she had suf- 
fered a loss of oxygen. The probability of brain damage was strong, we felt sure. 

The words which had sustained me during this earlier experience came back as 
addressed to me in this situation: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto 
you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, 
neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). Again Philippians 4:6-7 came to mind. In 
prayer I committed this problem into the hands of a loving Father. And how sweet 
was his peace! 

Day after day as we waited for news and as we called occasionally to express 
our love and concern to Rob and Cathy, a chorus of praise was constantly on my 
lips. It was Psalm 118:28-29 set to music: "Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: 
thou art my God, and I will exalt thee. give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: 
for his mercy endureth for ever. " 

The end came for Catherine on January 20, 1977, only a few hours after Jimmy 
Carter was inaugurated as president. I felt that Kay needed to go, but Rob and 
Cathy said no. They wanted to get this behind them. Cathy felt that for her mother 
to come at that time would only prolong the sorrow for them. The rector of the 
Episcopal Church into which they had recently been confirmed was a great com- 
fort to them. James and his family represented us in the memorial service at the 
Episcopal Church. The many friends of Rob and Cathy in Gastonia showered them 
with tender loving care. 

Again friends from the Nagazumi Church came to see us in an hour of sorrow 



222 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

and expressed their love to us with words, flowers, and prayers. With Kay the 
maternal instinct is very strong, and her grief was much deeper than mine. And for 
many months it was unresolved. She had not even seen little Catherine. Nor had 
she been permitted to be with her daughter in the hour of her deepest need. She 
had not attended the memorial service in Gastonia, and there had not been one 
for Catherine in Japan. Resentment began to creep in, resentment toward God. 
Why had he permitted this to happen? We had wanted other children, but this joy 
had been denied us. It had appeared for a time that Cathy would not be able to 
have children. Then had come the wonderful news that she was pregnant. Now 
this joy had turned into sorrow. 

I had not realized fully how deep this sorrow and resentment was. I had found 
peace in the midst of sorrow through trust and praise. I had not praised God for 
Catherine's enlarged heart and her death, but I had praised God in the midst of 
circumstances that I had not been able to understand. Kay had not been able to do 
this. 

Over a year later she told me exactly how she felt. "It seems that God played a 
dirty trick on us," she said. I knew that this kind of resentment occurs so often 
that it is regarded by many as a normal part of the grief experience. But this 
should have been resolved long ago. What could I do to help? 

Not long after this we had a prayer retreat for the Southern Baptist missionaries 
in the Fukuoka area. Kay and I planned the program for this prayer time with our 
fellow missionaries held at the Catholic House of Meditation in our city, April 3-4, 
1978. It was not long after Easter, and we were singing "Because He Lives" by 
Bill Gaither. On the second stanza my eyes turned toward Kay. She was not sing- 
ing, but crying softly instead. I knew what she was thinking, and my heart went out 
to her. 

That day I spoke to Dr. Sam James, the area representative for the FMB, about 
Kay's unresolved grief. He had had special training in counseling, and he had a 
pastor's heart. He was to spend that night as our guest. Perhaps he could help. 

That evening in a skillful way Sam turned the conversation toward Catherine. 
Kay talked about her quite freely, and in the course of her remarks said: "I buried 
Catherine today!" And, praise God, she had! 

A month later a call came from Cathy while Kay was in Korea attending the Asia 
Baptist Women's Conference. 

"Hello, Daddy, I'm pregnant," she announced joyfully. 

"That's great!" I responded. "When can we expect the happy event?" 

"I don't really know, but the pregnancy is in a very early stage. I had thought 
that I might be pregnant, and some new tests they have devised established the 
fact that I am." Cathy went on to explain that she had just been offered a TV job in 



THE HOLY SPIRIT'S CONTINUING WORK 223 

Charlotte, but thought that it might not be advisable to quit her job with the Gaston 
Mental Health Association and start commuting to Charlotte every day if she were 
going to have a baby. 

My heart soared with praise again, and the words which had expressed my 
emotions in my time of sorrow flowed again from my lips in this time of joy: "Thou 
art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. give thanks 
unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." 

I wrote Kay in Korea about the good news, but she did not receive my letter. So I 
broke the news to her as we were on the way back from the airport where I had 
gone to meet her. How good God is! A little over a month after Kay had sur- 
rendered her resentment, word came that Cathy was expecting again. Kay would 
have the joy of holding a newborn baby and feeling the pride and joy she gives. 
This more than anything would heal the sorrow. 



23 
A Fond Farewell 



In Silence, the famous Catholic novelist, Shusaku Endo, has one of his char- 
acters compare Japan to a swamp that distorts and deforms the gospel. Probably, 
a more apt description is Paul's statement concerning the situation which he 
faced in Ephesus: "A wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there 
are many adversaries" (1 Cor. 16:9, RSV). 

There are many adversaries to the progress of the gospel in Japan. Doubtless, 
the hold of Shinto and Buddhism upon the people is one of the impediments to 
evangelism. Ancestor worship is at the heart of religious practice in Japan in both, 
and through it the dead hold the living in their grip. To the Japanese mind, Chris- 
tianity is intolerant in its insistence that the only true object of worship is the God 
revealed in Jesus Christ. New religions, among which the most militant is Sokka 
Gakkai, have flourished in postwar Japan. They appeal to the Japanese desire to 
belong and to the people's concern for health and this-worldly success. More- 
over, they don't seem foreign, as is often the case with Christianity. 

Many families permit their children to go to Christian schools and even allow 
them to attend church services but draw the line when it comes to baptism. Often 
the major concern is for the child's marriage. Many of the marriages are still ar- 
ranged by the parents. Non-Christian parents often feel that a child's becoming a 
Christian will limit his or her opportunities for marriage. This anxiety is particularly 
great in the case of a daughter. In the case of a first-born son the major concern is 
usually that if he becomes a Christian he will not carry on the traditional rites of 
ancestor worship. 

Schools with their clubs and entrance exams claim almost all of the time and 
loyalty of students from grammar school through high school. Many of the school- 
related activities are on Sunday. Again and again, I have seen young people come 
almost to the point of decision for Christ only to watch with distress their interest 
deflected by a tennis club or preparation for an entrance exam. 

Business men devote their complete loyalty to their companies, which in turn 
guarantee their economic security throughout life. Secularism and materialism 

224 



A FOND FAREWELL 225 

tend to make them indifferent to the needs of the spirit. Throughout the sixties the 
emphasis was upon increasing the gross national product (GNP). In recent years, 
more attention has been directed toward improving the quality of life. This is inter- 
preted, however, largely in secular terms, with the emphasis being placed upon 
more leisure time for recreation and family togetherness. 

Yet, there continues to be an open door. The postwar constitution guarantees 
separation of church and state and complete religious freedom. Though Chris- 
tianity confronts a solid wall of indifference, there is little organized persecution. 

The percentage of Christians among the Japanese people has doubled since 
the end of the war. Even so, when all denominations are considered together, 
Christians constitute only a little more than one percent of the population. In other 
words, in a nation of 1 15 million, the number of people who call themselves Chris- 
tian is just a little over a million. 

The growth rate of Christians in the postwar era has varied widely among the 
various denominations. On a relative scale, the growth of work related to the 
Japan Baptist Convention has been extremely fast. There were only sixteen 
churches when the JBC was formed in April of 1947. Thirty-three years later there 
were 180 organized churches and an additional fifty missions. When we moved to 
Fukuoka in April of 1953, there were three Baptist churches in the area. By 1978 
there were twenty. Since the formation of the JBC, those on the rolls of our Bap- 
tist churches have swelled from 1 ,600 to 26,000. 

The JBC made outstanding progress in the seventies in the area of self-support. 
Despite galloping inflation, by 1978 the convention had become self-supporting in 
its operating budget, except for the Baptist hospital in Kyoto and the seminary in 
Fukuoka. While rejoicing in this progress toward a worthy goal, I was concerned 
about a marked slow-down in evangelism. Few new missions were being started. 

For several years I had been saying that before our retirement I would like to 
take the lead in starting another mission. But I had been waiting for a clear indi- 
cation of God's leadership with regard to time, place, and method. Then, in 1978, 
very suddenly all of these things began to come together, and I was led to the 
conviction that God was opening the door. 

I wanted to be sure that the seminary and Nagazumi Church were on a sound 
footing before committing myself to giving the time that starting a new mission 
would require. There was every indication that the seminary was on its feet again. 
The number of students was climbing year by year, and the JBC was now united in 
support of the seminary. In the spring of 1978, Dr. Toshio Aono, who had just com- 
pleted his doctoral work in New Testament at the University of Zurich, joined our 
teaching staff. He was the first full-time Japanese faculty member to come to the 
seminary in fourteen years. The work of the Nagazumi Church was also firmly 



226 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

established. Under Dr. Saito's leadership, in May of 1976 it had been organized as 
a church, and it was rapidly becoming one of the strongest churches in the JBC. 
Hearing of my interest in starting new work, the Japanese pastors who were the 
officers of the Fukuoka Association had urged me to launch out. As I reflected on 
the time I had before retirement, I concluded that I should not wait any longer. 

With regard to place, I had been looking for a community like Nagazumi, and I 
had not seen one. Then one day John and Jean Shepard showed Kay and me a 
section on the west end of the city that was rapidly growing. In the Nogata area 
there was an apartment complex of over twelve hundred units, and all around it 
new residences were mushrooming. Here in this area and surrounding it were 
many square miles and thousands of people, but there was no church of any kind. 
The appearance of this section was very much like that of the Nagazumi area be- 
fore we had begun work there. When I showed it to Pastor Saito, his enthusiasm 
matched mine. This was definitely the right place. 

But how should we go about beginning work there? We had no members living 
in that area. We knew of two couples from other Baptist churches, but they lived 
on the fringe of the community and would not likely be joining us soon. A few 
years earlier the Japan Baptist Mission had reorganized into divisions according 
to the type of work the missionaries were doing. I belonged to the Division of 
Starting and Strengthening Churches. Attending the annual meeting of this divi- 
sion in the spring, I discovered that the JBM had already set aside a budget of ■¥■ 
32,000,000 (roughly, $1 is -Y-220) for just such a project. This would be for land and 
a building to be used in connection with launching a mission for which a mission- 
ary would be responsible. The mission would need the support of a local church, 
and any group who accepted the money would be accepting with it the obligation 
to pay back half of this amount without interest within eight years. These were 
very generous terms, I thought. Dr. Saito presented it to the Nagazumi Church, 
and the church with great enthusiasm voted to start the mission and have me 
serve as pastor. 

After much consultation between the Nagazumi Church and responsible people 
within the JBC and the JBM, in December of 1978 we were able to purchase a 
200-tsubo (7,200 square feet) lot in an ideal location for-f-22,000,000. Land prepa- 
ration of this rice paddy also require a fairly large amount. High as this price 
seems, it was much cheaper than anything else available in the area. The idea was 
to erect a building there in the summer of 1979 and open the mission point in the 
fall. 

The news that came in May of 1978 that Cathy was expecting again caused us to 
start planning a mini-furlough to enable us to be in the States at the time of our 
grandchild's birth. We would be eligible for a 4 1 /2 month furlough beginning in 



A FOND FAREWELL 227 

early December. By making up in advance classes that I would be missing in the 
fall term and giving my exams early I could complete that term. The few classes 
that I would miss at the beginning of the spring term in April I could make up after I 
returned. This arrangement suited the seminary fine, for in this way I could take a 
furlough without missing a term of teaching. 

Cathy insisted that we should live in Gastonia, since we were planning our fur- 
lough to coincide with the birth of her baby. But what would I do in Gastonia? 
During all of our other furloughs, I had always lived near a seminary, but there was 
no seminary in Gastonia, North Carolina. What I needed was a writing project 
which would not require a theological library. With this in mind, I began making 
plans for writing my missionary autobiography. 

Even earlier a number of things had caused me to start thinking along these 
lines. Reading Jimmy Carter's description of his early life in Plains in his book 
Why Not the Best?( Broad man Press) had stirred happy memories of my boyhood 
days in Alapaha. As I read A Man for All Seasons (Broadman), Jesse Fletcher's 
biography of Baker James Cauthen, I began reflecting on my own experiences as 
a missionary. Even deeper reflection along these lines followed my reading of 
Higher Ground (Broadman), Eloise Cauthen's biography of her father, Wiley 
Glass, written in autobiographical style. An editorial in The Commission by Dr. 
Cauthen in which he introduced his wife's book and urged missionaries to write 
about their experiences supplied a further stimulus. So did a remark by a fellow 
missionary who, after having read my other two books, said, "I wish you would 
write something sometime that would reflect your experience in Japan." Perhaps 
in writing an autobiography I could make some contribution to Bold Mission 
Thrust about which Southern Baptists were becoming so excited. 

By June I had a working outline, and during our summer vacation at Nojiri I 
began writing a rough draft. Writing an autobiography seemed so ridiculous that in 
the early days I hesitated to tell anyone about it. As I began to tell people what I 
was doing, I would always precede this disclosure by requesting them to laugh. I 
explained that I wanted them to laugh before I told them and not afterwards. 

The more I worked on it the more excited I became. Gradually, the conviction 
began to grow that in this, as in so many other things in my life, the Holy Spirit had 
been leading. 

We began our furlough on December 5. The missionary house provided by the 
Loray Baptist Church in Gastonia gave us an ideal living situation. Since the house 
was comfortably furnished by the church, all we had to do was to come in and 
unpack our bags and hang up our clothes. The pantry shelf was stocked with food 
staples, and the refrigerator was filled with fried chicken, ham biscuits, vegeta- 
bles, cakes, and other goodies. 



228 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Beginning a furlough in December enabled us to enjoy a delightful family Christ- 
mas before our granddaughter, Shelton Page Wilder, made her appearance right 
on schedule December 26. Again Cathy followed the Lamaze program, and the 
birth was remarkably easy. Kay found deep satisfaction in helping Cathy and in 
spoiling Shelton during the many hours I was busy with this book. We spent many 
happy hours in the evenings with Rob, Cathy, and Shelton. How grateful we are 
for the joys these times of fellowship afforded! 

Shortly before we had left Japan for our mini-furlough, I had received a tele- 
phone call which was to bring about a major change in my life. It was early Satur- 
day morning, December 2, and Kay and I were lying in bed trying to decide 
whether to get up or take that extra snooze when this dreamlike reverie was 
broken. 

"This is Albert Meiburg," the party on the other line said. "The T-Area (The- 
ology Division) of Southeastern Seminary is considering you as a professor of 
systematic theology to take the place of Dr. James Tull who will be retiring in 
July." 

There was a pause on my end of the line. 

"Do you know who I am?" Dr. Meiburg asked. 

"Yes. You are dean of Southeastern Seminary." 

"Are you interested?" 

"No, I don't think so," I replied. 

Kay was lying in bed next to the phone and overhearing the conversation. "Bob, 
at least you ought to think about it and pray about it," she kept telling me. 

"Well, as a matter of fact, Dr. Meiburg," I continued after a moment's hesita- 
tion, "we are leaving Tuesday to begin our furlough." 

"Where will you be staying?" 

"At 108 South Firestone Street in the missionary house supplied by the Loray 
Baptist Church," I answered. 

"Well, I'll be getting in touch with you soon," he replied as we closed the con- 
versation. Dean Meiburg told me later that he had thought for a while that I might 
hang up on him. 

Kay and I had been talking about making a trip to Raleigh, North Carolina to see 
Caralie Brown. As we flew over the Pacific, we decided that if it was convenient 
with Caralie we would go on Friday, December 15, so we could be with her on the 
sixteenth, the anniversary of her husband's death. If it seemed advisable, we 
could drop by Southeastern at that time. 

The day after our phone was connected in our missionary residence in Gastonia 
I received follow-up calls from Dr. Randall Lolley, president of Southeastern Semi- 
nary, and Dr. John Steely, chairman of the T-Area, and another call from Dean 



A FOND FAREWELL 229 

Meiburg. In the course of these conversations I told them that we were planning a 
trip on the fifteenth to see Caralie. I agreed to have some unofficial dialogue with 
them on this subject that afternoon. 

The question I asked during the telephone conversation and later during our 
unofficial dialogue was "Why me?" I knew there were many well-qualified people 
in the States who would be delighted with such an opportunity. Why are they 
considering me?\ would have thought they would have wanted a younger man. 

Dr. Lolley explained that they were trying to keep a balance in the faculty be- 
tween older and younger men. They had decided they wanted someone in my age 
bracket. He explained that they had drawn up a list of forty possible candidates, 
had narrowed it down to three, and now they were dealing with me alone until I 
gave them some definite word. He went on to say that many at Southeastern had 
read my books, that they had come to know me through the time I had spent at 
Southeastern on furloughs, and that they had confidence in me and felt I could 
meet their needs. 

My strong inclination was to say I was not interested and bring the whole con- 
versation to a close. I was happy in Japan. In fact, I had never been happier. I was 
looking forward with great anticipation to beginning a new mission upon our re- 
turn from furlough. I was also excited about the missionary autobiography. What 
appeal would it have if I ceased to be a missionary? Why couldn't they just get 
somebody else and leave me alone? 

Yet, I had promised Kay I would honestly seek God's will in this matter. I had to 
consider the fact that the providence of God might be involved in Southeastern's 
approaching me. Still, I couldn't think of the possibility of leaving Japan without 
getting emotional about it. 

During this unofficial visit, I shared my feelings on this with Dr. John Eddins, 
who would be one of my colleagues in systematic theology should Southeastern 
invite me and should I accept. I told him that I had gone to Japan with a strong 
assurance of the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and I did not feel that I could leave 
without the conviction that this was God's will for me. He listened with deep 
sympathy as I talked about the providence of God. Then he said: "We serve a 
living God. His call is dynamic, not static. Just as he led you to Japan he can lead 
you back here." That was something to think about. 

Our visit with Caralie was pleasant indeed, but how we missed Ray! On other 
furloughs we had always renewed our fellowship with the Browns as though there 
had been no time lapse, and even with Ray gone, this time was no exception. 
Caralie was busy with her school teaching, even as she had been before Ray's 
death. We admired her fortitude. Naturally, we shared the news about South- 
eastern's approach to us but asked her not to tell anyone. 



230 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

From Raleigh we drove to Richmond to visit with Kay's folks. Nearly all the way 
we talked about the Southeastern opportunity, trying to evaluate the pros and 
cons. Our stay in Richmond was short because we wanted to be with Rob and 
Cathy when the baby came. "I've come all the way from Japan for this," Kay said, 
"and i don't want to miss it." 

Before we left Richmond, we had a breakfast date with George and Helen Hays 
in their home. They had long been our missionary colleagues in Japan. Now Dr. 
Hays was our area secretary. They listened very sympathetically as we told them 
about the approach from Southeastern. At that time I honestly didn't know what 
our decision would be. "We would hate very much to lose you as missionaries, 
but it is a decision you will have to make," Dr. Hays said. "Helen and I will be 
remembering you in prayer." He had not tried to put pressure on us. Neither had 
the people at Southeastern Seminary. Both the seminary and the Foreign Mission 
Board through their official representatives showed a genuine sensitivity to our 
struggle and indicated that whatever our decision they wanted us to feel right 
about it. 

In a little while we would be grandparents. Of course, it would be nice to live 
near our grandchild. "It's not fair," I said as we sat at the breakfast table with 
George and Helen. "My parents had wanted to be near their only granddaughter 
too when we took her off to Japan. Now when the shoe is on the other foot we are 
considering coming back." 

Yet, deep down, I knew this argument was not valid. God is not in the hazing 
business. He does not take a delight in separating grandparents from their grand- 
children. We had gone to Japan not to deprive my parents of the joy they might 
have had in seeing Cathy grow up but because we believed this to be God's will 
for our lives. If we returned to the States at this juncture, it could only be because 
we believed that in so doing we were following God's will. 

Southeastern was waiting for a decision from us as to whether we should enter 
official negotiations. More and more, we made it an object of earnest prayer. 

I recognized a deep anxiety that I felt about leaving the familiar— my opportuni- 
ties in Japan— to go to the unknown— those I would have at Southeastern. One 
day in my devotional time as I was turning at random through my Good News Bible 
my eyes fell on the following passages: 

Jesus, Son of the Most High God! What do you want with me? (Mark 5:7). 

Why are you frightened? Have you still no faith? (Mark 4:40). 

Do not lose your courage, then, because it brings with it a great reward (Heb. 

10:35). 

Anxiety departed, and there came the quiet assurance that I was in God's hands 
and whatever the outcome it would be all right. 



A FOND FAREWELL 231 

Feeling that there was at least a fifty-fifty chance that I might accept this oppor- 
tunity if it were officially offered to me, I indicated to Dr. Lolley that I was ready to 
begin official conversations on the matter. At Southeastern's request, I contacted 
Mercer University and Southern Seminary to ask them to send my transcripts to 
Southeastern. Then I prepared an autobiographical sketch, listing most of the 
articles I had written for magazines and scholarly journals along with my books 
and their translations. 

My official visit to Southeastern was set for February 1-2 and included the fol- 
lowing: a conference with the dean and the professors of the T-Area (Theology 
Division) to discuss my background and the contribution I might be able to make at 
Southeastern, a meeting with the full faculty to cover again some of the same ter- 
ritory, a dinner conference with a representative group of students, and a confer- 
ence in which Kay and I were guests in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Lolley. I received 
a favorable impression in all of these conversations. I was particularly grateful for 
the opportunity to talk with the students. 

A few days later Dr. Lolley informed me that the teachers in the T-area had 
formally requested that appropriate steps to be taken to recommend me to the 
trustees, and I told him I was ready for a secret ballot to be taken of the faculty 
members. By this time I was committed to accept if invited, but I was praying that 
God would block the way if it were not his will. 

Later I was told that the faculty had enthusiastically endorsed the presentation 
of my name to the trustees for election. The students also gave a very favorable 
report of our time together. This seemed to me the confirmation I had been wait- 
ing for. The last step was my meeting with the Committee on Instruction of the 
Board of Trustees of Southeastern Seminary March 12 and the unanimous vote of 
the trustees March 13. 

What had led me to the conviction that this was God's will for me at this juncture 
in life, and why did I have such peace about it? 

First, there was the matter of the way the request had come from the seminary. I 
had not sought it. Indeed, I was very much surprised by it. The timing of the ap- 
proach seemed to be providential. If Kay had not been by the phone when the call 
came, I probably would have turned it down right at the beginning. If it had not 
come just at the time we were leaving for furlough, the approach probably would 
have gotten nowhere. I don't believe I would have left Japan to visit Southeastern 
to talk about something I wasn't interested in anyway. But the people at South- 
eastern had no knowledge of my furlough schedule when they decided to ap- 
proach me. If Cathy had not been having a baby in December, we would not have 
been planning a furlough for that time. If Cathy had not lost her first baby, the 
probability is that a second pregnancy would not have occurred at that time. 

For a number of years Kay had been talking about retirement, but I had been 



232 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

reluctant to consider the subject. As a compromise with her, I had agreed that we 
would retire at 65 rather than trying to go on until 70. 1 had come to see the logic of 
her argument that an adjustment back to American society would be more difficult 
at the more advanced age. 

Kay had also been talking for many years about our buying a home for our retire- 
ment, but I had vetoed this idea, saying I didn't know where I wanted to retire. By 
the time this opportunity came I was giving serious consideration to this matter. 
We had already concluded we wanted to retire in Wake Forest. I knew I wanted to 
be near a seminary. We knew also that we wanted to be near Cathy and Rob and 
not too far from our other relatives. Since Rob is a native North Carolinian, has had 
all of his college study and law training in North Carolina, has passed his bar exam 
in North Carolina, and he and Cathy are now living in Gastonia, the probability is 
that they will continue to live in this state. My brother and his family live in Con- 
yers, Georgia, near Atlanta, and Kay's folks live in Richmond, Virginia. We had 
concluded that Wake Forest was the ideal place. 

If the invitation had come earlier in my missionary career when retirement con- 
siderations were not in the picture, I probably would have indicated from the 
beginning that I was not interested. I had been approached by other seminaries 
about teaching more than a decade earlier and had closed the door to these pos- 
sibilities right away. 

Southeastern was very understanding about my need to give adequate advance 
notice before leaving the faculty of our seminary in Japan. I was already com- 
mitted to teach the school year beginning in April of 1979. If I returned to the 
States in the late spring of 1980, I would have completed almost thirty years of 
service with the FMB. The new law passed by Congress that retirement cannot be 
forced before one is seventy means that, health permitting and God willing, I can 
continue to serve until that age. That would mean that I would have fifteen years 
of service at Southeastern should I return to the States but only ten more at 
Seinan should I remain in Japan. Accepting the invitation from Southeastern 
would enable us to come back into American life early enough to cope with the 
changes that we would need to make. It would also mean the opening of a new 
career to me after the completion of a thirty-year missionary career. 

Due consideration of the opportunity Southeastern would offer was also an 
important part of the decision. I was told that Southeastern had 1 ,100 students and 
that I would have the opportunity of teaching at least half of them. If I continued to 
teach until I was seventy, I should be able to make some impact upon five genera- 
tions of students. These people would be serving the Lord all over the United 
States and indeed all over the world. Some of them might even be going to Japan. 
Since I would be leaving Japan with a positive attitude, hopefully I would be able to 



A FOND FAREWELL 233 

have some positive influence for missions at Southeastern. 

The new opportunity would also stimulate personal growth. There is a much 
wider range of course offerings than at Seinan. I would have to be developing new 
courses, and this would promote growth. The summer vacation periods at South- 
eastern are relatively long, from the middle of May until the end of August. When I 
was not teaching in summer school, I would have the opportunity to make trips to 
Europe, to the Holy Land, and to various other places for study and service. In six 
years I would be eligible for a full sabbatical. Doubts still lingered in my mind as to 
whether I had what it takes to make it at Southeastern. But how would I know if I 
did not try? 

Personal and family considerations weighed heavily in favor of our accepting 
Southeastern's invitation. Since our loved ones are dear to us and as human 
beings we desire to be near them, these matters helped confirm the decision and 
caused us to rejoice in the goodness of God. But these factors were not the basis 
on which the decision was made. 

But what about my work at the seminary in Fukuoka? I have never regarded my- 
self as indispensable. If God is calling me to Southeastern, he will provide for the 
needs of the Theological Department of Seinan Gakuin University, I reasoned. 
The seminary is stronger now than it has been for some time. I will be teaching 
another full academic year. Surely arrangements can be made during this time. 

What about the new mission in Nokata? I was strongly convinced that this was in 
the Lord's will. Accordingly, I was given a strong conviction that before we left for 
the States in the spring of 1980 God would have provided the replacement. 

What about my missionary autobiography? Whether the book would be pub- 
lished at all or whether it would lose its appeal if I were no longer a missionary 
would have to be left in God's hands. I would simply deal honestly with my call to 
Southeastern as I had done wih my call to Japan. 

What about the article I had written in 1970 on why we were returning to Japan? 
Had the arguments I had used then suddenly become invalid? Was there no 
longer any need for missionaries in Japan? Was the door there now closed? Was 
the work there no longer satisfying and fulfilling? Of course not! The only thing 
that had changed was God's call to us. I was now convinced that he wanted us at 
Southeastern, and I had peace about it. 

How would I break the news to the people in Japan? After much thought and 
prayer, I came to the conclusion that rather than waiting until a final decision had 
been made it would be better to go ahead and inform representatives there in 
responsible places of leadership about the negotiations then in progress. How- 
ever, I recognized also the importance of preserving confidentiality about the 
negotiations until the Board of Trustees should have an opportunity to act. 



234 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Accordingly, about two weeks before my election by the trustees, I wrote a letter 
to those in Japan who would need to be notified in some official capacity. These 
included Dr. E. Luther Copeland, Chancellor of Seinan Gakuin; Professor Kazuo 
Nakamura, Dean of the Theological Department; Dr. Goki Saito, Pastor of the 
Nagazumi Baptist Church; and Dr. Ralph V. Calcote, Chairman of the Japan Bap- 
tist Mission. Almost by return mail I received warm letters of understanding and 
acceptance from Ralph and Pastor Saito. 

Once the decision was made many things happened to confirm in our minds the 
conviction that this was the Lord's will for us. One of these was the way God 
opened the way for us to purchase a house in Wake Forest. On a trip from Gas- 
tonia to Richmond, on Monday, April 2, we looked at several houses for sale in the 
Wake Forest area and made a bid on one before leaving for Richmond the next 
day. A day later we received word that our bid had been accepted. Friday on our 
return trip to Gastonia in one day we were able to make financial arrangements for 
the purchase through the Wake Forest Savings & Loan Association and also to 
secure a renter for the year we would be away. The only home we (along with the 
finance company, of course) have ever owned, it is located in a quiet, shady 
residential area about an eight-minute walk from school. Now we would have a 
home base to which we could ship our household effects the next year. 

Our last year in Japan— April 19, 1979-April 22, 1980— was a particularly mean- 
ingful one to us. We returned with a sense of eschatological urgency, knowing 
that our time there was short. Daily we prayed that God would enable us to make 
the best possible use of our time. 

Fellowship with the faculty and students of the seminary that last year was 
especially meaningful to me. Never had I enjoyed my teaching more. One oppor- 
tunity for which I was particularly grateful was that of being a speaker at a 
missions emphasis retreat of the seminary. The other speaker was Nobuyoshi 
Togami, who along with his wife had served fifteen years as a missionary to Brazil, 
sent out by the Japan Baptist Convention. Each of us had a total of five hours for 
lectures and dialogue with the students. 

Other special opportunities presented themselves. On the evening of Thanks- 
giving Day I was the speaker at our Japan Mission Thanksgiving Retreat. My 
message, more of a testimony than a sermon, was an offering of praise to God for 
the life in Christ and the joy of serving him. In March I spoke four times at the 
prayer retreat of the men of the Korea Baptist Mission. In keeping with the theme 
of the retreat— "Celebrating Christ"— I brought messages on the Incarnation, the 
Cross, the Resurrection, and the Coming of the Spirit. Hearing from these mis- 
sionaries of the responsiveness of the Korean people to the Gospel message 
caused me to pray more earnestly that the revival then in progress in Korea would 



A FOND FAREWELL 235 

spill over into Japan and spread throughout the world. 

During our last year in Japan I was privileged to preach in several revivals, but 
because of the beginning of the new mission in Nokata, I had to turn down more 
invitations than I could accept. 

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the year was work in connection with the Nokata 
Mission of the Nagazumi Baptist Church. The first half of the year was spent in 
preparation for this work and the second half in active participation in it. 

My confidence that the Nagazumi Baptist Church would proceed with its plan for 
the new mission despite our return to the States was not without foundation. On 
our first Sunday back in Fukuoka I preached at the Nagazumi Church on following 
the will of God, explaining to the congregation our decision to go to Southeastern. 
A good many listened in tears, but the Holy Spirit was at work to create an atmos- 
phere of understanding and acceptance. One young person came up to me after 
the service and said, "I'm so happy!" Then realizing that the statement could be 
interpreted to mean that she was happy we would be leaving, she added, "I don't 
know why, but I am." 

To my knowledge, at no point did anyone in the congregation suggest that the 
starting of the mission should be delayed or cancelled because of our decision to 
return to the States. Rather, the strong feeling of the people was that we should 
proceed as swiftly as possible, making the most of the time while Kay and I were 
still there. 

The enthusiastic leadership of Pastor Saito, no doubt, contributed much to the 
creation of this atmosphere. He had already taken the lead in helping us secure 
land in a strategic location. Now we worked together in finalizing the plans for the 
building and in making the necessary financial arrangements before construction 
was begun in mid-July. The contract was let to the company which had just com- 
pleted the construction in Nagazumi of the church's new educational plant and 
the appropriate renovation of the church sanctuary. How grateful we were that, 
after the massive volume of red tape always connected with this kind of project 
had been cut, construction was now underway! Though the lot was small (7,200 
sq. ft.), there would still be room for building an educational facility and a pastor's 
home some time in the future. 

The land and building cost approximately 40 million yen ($160-200,000, depend- 
ing upon the fluctuating exchange rate). Financial responsibility was set as 
follows: ¥ 16,250,000 from the Japan Baptist Mission; ¥ 10,000,000 from the 
Japan Baptist Convention through its Cooperative Program; ¥400,000 from the 
Fukuoka Baptist Association; and the remaining ¥13,350,000 from the Nagazumi 
Baptist Church, the Nokata Mission, and interested friends. 

Since the Nokata area was a thirty-minute drive from the Nagazumi Church, and 



236 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

there were no Nagazumi church members living in the area, it was not feasible to 
divide many members with the new mission. Nevertheless, two seminary stu- 
dents serving at Nagazumi and two adult members, Mr. Shozo Kono and Mrs. 
Miyoko Morita, volunteered to help. Earlier Mrs. Morita had been a fellow church 
member with Kay and me in the Hirao Church. When Kay and I led in pioneer work 
in the Nagazumi area, she had moved to this area with her husband to begin the 
new work with us. Her husband, though himself completely indifferent to the work 
of the church, through the years had been sympathetic with his wife's participa- 
tion. Now Mrs. Morita was joining with us to start the mission in Nokata, though 
this time she was not moving to the area. 

Even before construction on the mission building began those of us committed 
to participation in the work started meeting from time to time to make plans for the 
new adventure. Pastor Saito met with us and gave us the benefit of his wise 
counsel. We agreed to begin with a two-day evangelistic meeting on Saturday 
night and Sunday morning, October 20-21. I was asked to be the preacher. Our 
regular services at the beginning would consist of Sunday School, a Sunday 
morning worship service, and a Wednesday evening Bible study and prayer 
service. 

Prayer support for the new mission within the Nagazumi Church was quite 
strong. Moreover, the ladies and young people of the church helped us make 
about 2,500 house calls prior to the special evangelistic services which launched 
the new mission. On the afternoon of Sunday, October 21, shortly after the 
conclusion of the evangelistic service that morning, large numbers of Baptists 
from the churches in the association joined with us in the dedication of the new 
building. 

We were off to a good start. Our visitation helped us to discover other Baptists 
in the neighborhood and enlist their cooperation. A number of seekers also began 
attending the services with a fair degree of regularity. Now I was having the time 
of my life preaching every Sunday to this congregation, visiting among them, 
loving them and receiving their love in return. Very rapidly a warm spirit of fellow- 
ship began to develop among us. During the six months that Kay and I served the 
Nokata Mission ten people in addition to ourselves joined it by letter and six by 
baptism. 

In the work in Hirao and Nagazumi we had been slow in reaching men and even 
slower in getting whole families involved in the church. But in Nokata almost from 
the beginning husbands and wives started coming together— and bringing their 
children. 

Kay and I always rejoice whenever we hear a person give his or her confession 



A FOND FAREWELL 237 

of faith and whenever we see that one follow Christ in baptism. But there was a 
special reason for rejoicing on Palm Sunday, because a mother and her three 
children were baptized together. They chose Palm Sunday rather than Easter for 
this event because they wanted to participate actively in the special Thursday 
night service of Passion Week in which we were to observe the Lord's Supper 
together. 

It did not take us long to discern that Mrs. Yumiko Yuki's interest in the gospel 
was far from superficial. When Kay and I visited her and talked with her at some 
length, we learned that her mother, who had died of cancer when Yumiko was a 
high school student, had been a Christian. Yumiko also told us that she and her 
husband had been married in a Christian wedding service in the Church of God 
where her husband's mother was a member. For some time she had been teach- 
ing in a Christian kindergarten to which she had sent her children. She had 
attended various churches but had never come to the point of making a clear 
decision. I had the strong feeling that others had labored and we were beginning 
to enter into the fruits of their labor. 

As I opened to her the Scriptures concerning the cross, the resurrection, the 
work of the Holy Spirit, repentance, faith, and the Christian life, it was apparent 
that the Holy Spirit was in control. Mrs. Yuki make a definite commitment to Christ 
that afternoon, but she indicated that she wanted to wait a while about baptism 
because she felt that her children might be ready to be baptized with her. As a 
matter of fact, she had already been talking with them about Christ. 

On two or three other occasions Kay and I visited the home and talked with the 
children in the presence of their mother. What a beautiful experience it was to see 
this mother's tender concern and solicitation for her children! The joy of the 
congregation was quite evident as first the mother and then her two daughters, 
Runa, 13, Asana, 11, and her son, Taro, 8, gave their confessions of faith. All of 
them told in their own words and from their own perspectives how they had come 
to Christ. They all expressed their peculiar joy in having the church so near their 
home (about a three-minute walk). 

Our joy was tinged with sadness, however, because Mr. Yuki was not taking this 
step with his wife and children. His work in one of the leading department stores 
in the city made it impossible for him to attend church with his family on Sundays. 
However, he had attended the Saturday night service that had launched the 
Nokata Mission, and he attended the special service on Thursday night of Passion 
Week with his whole family. No doubt, he felt somewhat excluded as we all 
observed the Lord's Supper together, since he was not in a position to participate 
actively. Later I explained to him that Christ had died for him too and that we were 



238 GOD'S CALLING: A MISSIONARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

earnestly praying that he would soon make his profession of faith in Christ, follow 
him in baptism, and join with his family and the rest of the congregation in the 
observance of the Lord's Supper. 

What about replacements for the seminary and the Nokata Mission? Who would 
take my place in these positions? Before we left Japan several important deci- 
sions were made. Leroy Seat was transferred from the Liberal Arts Department of 
Seinan Gakuin University to the Theological Department. He would take my place 
in teaching systematic theology in the seminary. Ralph Calcote would be coming 
to Nokata as pastor in the summer of 1981, after he and Gena had returned from 
their furlough. Prior to that, Calvin Parker would be serving as interim pastor 
before he and Harriet left for furlough in the summer of 1981. Calvin would be 
coming to the seminary to teach missions, replacing Luther Copeland in that 
capacity, who with his wife, Louise, was retiring from missionary service. 

It was not easy to leave Japan. Bonds forged over a period of nearly thirty years 
are not easily broken! The joy of fellowship with the people at Nokata was quite 
intense, despite the fact that we had been with them only six months. It was 
especially difficult to leave these people. Added to this was the profound emo- 
tional strain of numerous farewell parties— each one of them an eating meeting. 
One was given by the seminary and another by the Baptist missionaries in the 
Fukuoka area. On three different Sundays (though not consecutively) I preached 
at the churches we had started in Hirao, Nagazumi, and Nokata. Each service was 
followed by a fellowship meal and a time of bidding farewell. All of the time we 
were being showered with gifts. The emotional strain was so intense that I don't 
believe we could have borne it had we not had the conviction that we were follow- 
ing God's will and had we not entertained the hope of visiting these dear people 
some time in the future. 

When I started writing this missionary autobiography, I had no idea that my days 
as a duly appointed Southern Baptist missionary would soon be coming to a 
close. Along the way various people asked me why I was writing such a book at 
that time rather than waiting until our retirement. Then I could only answer that I 
needed something to do during the months in Gastonia when I would be away 
from a theological library. I now believe that God, who knows the end from the 
beginning, led me to do this at this time, knowing that a more opportune time 
would not be offered. 

Reflecting back over my life has given me a stronger conviction than ever that 
God has been leading all the time. Even when I was not conscious of it, it was so. 
Reflecting on the past gives me confidence for the future. "Hitherto the Lord has 
helped us" (1 Sam. 7:12), faltering though my steps have been at times. This is 
the solid basis for the hope I now have. I have enjoyed the best of two worlds: that 



A FOND FAREWELL 239 

of teaching and that of preaching, that of Japan and the United States. With deep 
gratitude and praise I affirm: 

The steadfast love of the Lord 
never ceases, 
his mercies never come to an end; 
They are new every morning; 

great is thy faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-23, RSV). 



Bystanders still think being a "foreign missionary" is a life of 
glamour and romance, complete with travelogue scenery and 
exotic intrigue. Robert H. Culpepper doesn't discount the scenery 
(like on this cover) or the exotic aspects, but he writes as a human 
being who in his young life responded to God's call. 

Here is a no-holds-barred view about what it's like to be a mis- 
sionary. Culpepper doesn't varnish his story. He writes about the 
Culpeppers' humanness, his mistakes, the struggle to learn the 
Japanese language, the crises on the mission "field," the triumphs 
and the tragedies. 

This is a story of what it is to submerge oneself into the life and 
culture of another society for the sake of the gospel. 

DR. ROBERT H. CULPEPPER is professor of systematic theology 
at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North 
Carolina. He and his wife, Kay, served as missionaries to Japan 
for three decades. 




BROADMAN 



Cover Design by Gene Elliott 

Cover Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts 



0-8054-6323-2 





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